Feature: What happens when a city reverts to town status?
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (21 November) -- After the Supreme Court decision declaring the Cityhood Laws converting 16 municipalities into cities unconstitutional, Mati City mayor Michelle Rabat now wonders how a newly-created city would get back as a municipality.
Rabat, in an interview with the media, claimed that the decision is one of a kind as the Supreme Court has allowed to unmake a city.
With the P277 million increased difference of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), the local government could only imagine the huge effects of the decision to the people in the locality.
"We are all depressed upon hearing the 6-5 tight decision by the Supreme Court as this is a big obstacle to Mati's long-time dream," she said.
As the city received P382 million IRA last January, development started coming in such as big investment contracts, more job positions offered to the unemployed, and more public services felt by Matinians.
With the SC decision declaring the said law as unconstitutional, the 16 newly-created cities will then go back getting P111 million IRA.
"If that happens, we might declare bankruptcy," she said.
The local government will then lay-off about 600 employees who were just hired as the city created new local offices to cater to additional services.
Also, the P8 million scholarship program of the city which currently subsidizes 22,000 pupils might be stopped as the funding is taken from the new IRA.
Rabat will also have to sacrifice the city's health program that provides free Philhealth enrolment to about 2,400 beneficiaries. The P5 million budget allocated by the city to the provincial hospital in the form of new rooms and beds might also be derailed.
She also said that the city will then be pushed to stop giving P1 million allocation for each of the 22 barangays in Mati.
This is the scenario imagined by the local chief executive as the city reverts to a municipality. (PIA) [top]