BACOLOD City Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya filed Tuesday, June 13, House Bill No. 5875 that seeks to declare June 18 of every year a special non-working public holiday known as “Bacolod City Charter Day.”
Gasataya said Wednesday, June 14, that the bill will be referred to the House committee.
He said that on Tuesday, he received a letter from Mayor Evelio Leonardia asking him to file a bill that will amend Republic Act (RA) No. 7724 that set a wrong date for the celebration of the Charter of Bacolod.
In his letter to Gasataya, Leonardia said Bacoleños are celebrating once again a historic event on June 18, the day President Manuel L. Quezon signed Commonwealth Act No. 326 creating Bacolod as a city. That law provided that it takes effect upon its approval.
“We hope that Your Honor will expedite the filing of the bill to amend RA 7724 and clearly declare that June 18 is the Bacolod City Charter Day and that this day is a legal holiday in consonance with the clear and unmistakable letter and intent of Commonwealth Act No. 326,” Leonardia said.
The mayor’s request came as Bacolod City is commemorating the 79th year of the signing of the Charter of Bacolod on Sunday.
Leonardia said RA 7724 created the legally unfounded belief that the Bacolod Charter Day is on October 19.
He said they gathered a background that October 19 was the inauguration of then mayor Alfredo Montelibano Sr.
“When he was inaugurated October 19, 1938, the following year (they) celebrated the Charter Day on October 19 and so on and so forth,” he added.
“All of us who came after were made to believe that was the birthday of Bacolod, but now we believe that it is so clear that it should be June 18,” he said.
Leonardia said he feels the urgency of this amendment considering that in 2018, Bacolod will commemorate its 80th year of existence as city and so the time is appropriate to correct a historic error.
Section 4 of the proposed bill stated that RA 7724 and any law, presidential decree or issuance, executive order, letter of instruction, administrative order, rule or regulation contrary to, or inconsistent with the provision of this Act are hereby repealed, modified or amended accordingly.
Gasataya said the celebration of the Charter Day on the 19th of October every year has been overshadowed by the MassKara Festival and has likewise caused inconvenience in the scheduling of the highlights of the said festival.
Meanwhile, businessman Roberto Montelibano, son of the late mayor Alfredo Montelibano Sr., said that politicians always have a penchant for changing dates and name of the streets and October 19, the Charter Day of Bacolod by law, is not an exemption.
“It is up to Congress to review what the correct date is or what date should be used to celebrate the city's Charter Day,” he added.
“What can we do now? President Manuel Quezon and Papa Peding died already. We will have to face the issue in the future. Maybe Congress will recognize what is factual. And if the date really needs to be changed, then let them change the date,” Montelibano further said. (with reports from Carla N. Cañet)
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on June 15, 2017.
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