CONVERTING the town of Balamban into a city and establishing a state college and university in Toledo City are among the priorities of lawyer Pablo John Garcia, who was elected congressman of the third district.
Balamban, known for its shipbuilding industry, is already qualified to become a city, he said.
“Its income, population and land area are more than enough to qualify as a city. Naa lay problema sa una sa computation sa Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sa income kay based on certain index 2001 (There was just a problem with the DILG’s computation of the town’s income because it was based on a certain index). But now we have confirmed that it is now compliant. So Balamban will become a city soon,” said Garcia.
He was proclaimed by the Commission on Elections as the third district’s representative in Congress on Thursday, May 16.
Garcia got 128,878 votes, defeating Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña, who got 77,068 votes, and former Pinamungajan mayor Geraldine Yapha, who got 43,416 votes.
During the 15th Congress (2010-2013), Garcia, then a congressman, authored a bill seeking the conversion of Balamban into a city. But the town at the time did not reach the P100-million income requirement for cityhood based on the 2012-2013 assessment of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).
But according to the data of the BLGF in 2016, the town’s income had reached P309,906,408.
To become a city, a town must have an average annual income of P100 million in the last two years as certified by the Department of Finance.
According to a brief published by the Senate Economic Planning Office, a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income of at least P100 million in the last two consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices, and either a population of at least 150,000 inhabitants or a contiguous territory of 100 square kilometers.
Based on the 2015 census, Balamban had 87,177 inhabitants and an area of 333.56 square kilometers.
Meanwhile, Duke Frasco, the husband of Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, said he also wants Liloan to become a city as the town’s population is now more than 139,000.
Frasco, the son-in-law of Cebu Governor-elect Gwen Garcia, was elected fifth district congressman.
Liloan’s budget is around P120 to P139 million.
Frasco said he plans to construct satellite offices in the different towns in his district where his constituents can avail themselves of free medicines. (From SCG of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL)