THE Cebu City Sangguniang Pan-lungsod (SP) has certified that no boundary conflict involving Barangay Gua-dalupe and any of its neighbors has been brought and is pending for resolution before the City Council.

It issued the certification following a request from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) south district office after Comelec-Manila instructed it to check.

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If Guadalupe is at odds with its adjacent barangays over their territories and the matter has not been resolved yet, the plebiscite scheduled on March 13 for the creation of a Barangay Banawa Englis is in danger of being postponed.

Conflict resolution

It is because the office of Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bartolome Sinocruz Jr. ordered that the problem be resolved first before the plebiscite can proceed, said Elections Officer Edwin Cadungog.

What was said was if there is existing conflict, we should suspend the plebiscite until such time that it will be resolved,” he said.

“Whatever our recommendation to the operations office depends on the certification from the SP secretary,” Cadung added.

He said he has written Atty. Jose Marie Poblete, city council secretary, asking for a certification.

Guadalupe and Labangon had been at odds at one time over the demarcations of their common boundary.

Proof

In a separate interview, however, Poblete said nothing in their records showed that the conflict has reached the city council.

He said the certification he would issue would be that there is no proof showing that a boundary conflict involving Guadalupe has reached the city council.

“As far as our records are concerned, wala man. No boundary dispute has reached the city council for resolution,” Poblete said.

Unlike the conflict of Lahug and Luz that is currently being heard by the City Council, he said, Guadalupe has no dispute with any other barangay pending before the body.

In a previous press conference, Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south district) had presented a certification stating that Labangon Barangay Captain Felix Abella and his barangay councilors did not object to the separation of Sitios Banawa and Englis from Guadalupe.

Cuenco authored Republic Act (RA) 9905, or “An Act Creating a Barangay to be known as Barangay Banawa-Englis in the City of Cebu,” which took effect last month.

Old claims

In an interview, Abella also confirmed that while at one time Labangon officials traded claims with their Guadalupe counterparts over their boundary, the conflict was not formally brought to the City Council for mediation.

“Wala gyud kaabot. Wala mi mag-abot sa city council, pulos lang tudlo-tudlo sa una nga kana diha amo-a (We never met at the city council. It was all just pointing at the boundaries in principle),” Abella said.

“Mao man sad nay gitudlo ni (Guadalupe Barangay Captain Eugenio) ‘Jingjing’ (Faelnar) sa una, ang among boundary conflict. Mao ra nang isyoha gibalik sa una (It’s the same issue raised before),” he added.

The clamor for Sitios Banawa ang Englis to separate from Guadalupe started in 1987.

On Dec. 18, 1996, the City Council approved Ordinance 1661, or “An Ordinance Dividing Barangay Guadalupe, Defining and Delineating the Boundaries of the Subdivision, Setting-up and Providing Resources and Assistance to the emerging New Barangay on its Initial Corporate Existence.”

Then city councilors Michael Rama and Ronald Cuenco, Congressman Cuenco’s son, authored the ordinance.

On March 15, 2000, the council approved Ordinance 1817, which amended Section 5 of Ordinance 1661 and reset the plebiscite from May 2000 to May 2002.

The plebiscite, however, never pushed through.

The plebiscite was postponed three times and was eventually not pursued because of objections by Guadalupe officials.

House bill

On Sept. 30, 2008, Cuenco filed House Bill 5234 because the city council still failed to set the plebiscite for Ordinance 1661.

Come March 13, only the Guadalupe residents who are registered voters of the barangay as of the Nov. 29, 2009 election registration board hearing can take part in the plebiscite.

They will answer either “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you approve of the creation of a new barangay to be segregated from Barangay Guadalupe, to be named as Barangay Banawa-Englis, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9905 approved on January 07, 2010 by her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?”

If the yes votes win, the first set of Banawa-Englis barangay officials are elected during the October 2010 synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.