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Commentary: Sustaining SC decision on citihood of 16 cities chaotic

By Neela G. Duallo

City of Mati, Davao Oriental (27 November) -- The fight has just begun for the 16 neophyte cities whose citihood was nullified through the 6-5 decision of the Supreme Court.

Citihood Bill of Mati Bill author Former Congressman and now Vice-Governor Mayo Almario revealed that the 16 cities, including the City of Mati will file its motion for reconsideration next week.

"Right now, series of meetings are being conducted among the Mayors of the 16 cities, their respective District Representatives and officials,the authors of the citihood bills of the neophyte cities," he disclosed.

Almario said that it was indeed a difficult path traversed by Mati towards citihood.

"Admittedly, we did not qualify to the 100M-standard annual income requirement. But we appealed to the House of Representatives and Senate to give us a chance. Both Houses in Congress heard our appeal. They were convinced that we can be a city. Understandably, the League of Cities expressed their objection to more addition to the League because it will mean a cut from their share of Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA)," he explained.

The income requirement was the subject of contention of the petitioner, the League of Cities.

"But we will give a good fight. The decision of the Supreme Court is still reversible. And there were already cases of decisions reversed by the Supreme Court. We will tell the Supreme Court what the citihood has done for us, the changes that it brought to Mati," he added.

Changes include the installation of the City Schools Division of Mati, the 100M City aide to the 26 barangays of Mati, the investors that are starting to do business in Mati and the employment that they give, the improved delivery of health services, the new patrol cars of the Mati-PNP, among others.

"Should the Supreme Court sustain it's decision, we can ask the questions what will happen to the good start that Mati is savoring? And what will happen to the other new cities which availed themselves of loan from the banks considering that they already have enough money to pay, with their IRA tripled? It will be very chaotic," Almario furthered.

In achieving the citihood status, the lawmaker emphasized that Mati was following the law, and Mati followed the requirements, most importantly the holding of a plebiscite.

Almario also reminded the constituents, including the critics of citihood that the result of citihood cannot be seen and felt overnight.

"We will go through some birth pains. But what is important is that we have set the direction. And it's very clear,"

While Mati awaits the decision of the Supreme Court, hope is evident among Matinians.

"It's not final until it's over," Almario concluded. (DXHM-PIA XI) [top]

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