Guv wants component cities to contribute to Capitol's income

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia (File photo)

IF IT it were up to Gov. Gwen Garcia, component cities will share 30 percent of their real property tax with the Provincial Government.

According to the governor, component cities are still receiving assistance from the Province, but the latter does not get anything in return.

“This is very parochial, but it is also of national significance to local government units, particularly provinces. Kadagkuan sa atong (Bulk of our) income is only coming from our share of their real property tax. But sad to say, ang ato nga share nga 30 percent, maggikan lamang kana sa mga kalungsuran, dili sa mga syudad (our share of 30 percent is only coming from the towns and not from the cities),” Garcia said in an interview Friday, July 19, 2019.

There are 44 towns and seven component cities in Cebu Province. The cities are Bogo, Carcar, Danao, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay and Toledo.

Garcia lamented that barangays, regardless of whether they belong to towns or cities, still ask for assistance from the Provincial Government.

‘Kabaw mo, ang probinsya maoy gamay kaayo og earning capacity, dili parehas sa syudad nga mas dako ang ilang makolekta sa uban pang taxes nga ilang maimponer sa mga negosyo, sama pananglit mga business taxes sa business permits nila (The Province has lower earning capacity, unlike cities that can have higher collections from other taxes that they can impose on businesses such as business taxes and permits),” she added.

Garcia had filed a measure on the matter during her earlier stint as third district representative.

“I hope it will be taken up again by the 18th Congress,” she said.

Another suggestion the governor raised is rationalizing the income requirement for the creation of provinces.

“The Local Government Code provision on the income requirement for municipalities to become cities has been raised to P100 million from P20 million. However, the income requirement for provincehood remains at P20 million. Likewise, the income requirement for highly urbanized cities remains at P20 million. There is really a need to amend the Local Government Code,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

Garcia hopes these provision in the Local Government Code will be amended in the remaining three years of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

Duterte will present his administration’s accomplishments and projects in his fourth State of the Nation Address as he opens and addresses both houses of Congress—House of Representatives and the Senate—on its joint plenary session on Monday, July 22.

Other legislative measures the governor wants to be look into is the amendment of the Local Government Code’s provision on the composition of the local school board.

She pointed out the need to expand the membership of the local school board to include not only the provincial division schools superintendent, but also the regional directors of the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

At present, only the division schools superintendent sits as co-chaiperson of the provincial local school board along with the governor.

Although basic education and higher and technical education have different concerns, Garcia said they should both be given the same priority.

Aside from this, Garcia wants the State to recognize church annulment as a sufficient measure in nullifying a marriage to eliminate the costly judicial process.

In 2018, the House of Representatives approved a proposed law, which provided that marriage annulments approved by the Catholic Church or any other religious group will have the same effect as a civil annulment, making the legal process unnecessary.

During her stint as congresswoman, Garcia filed House Bill 6779, which would allow either of the former spouses to marry again after recording their annulment in the civil registry and complying with the requirements of the Family Code.

“This helps. This is pro-poor because we’re all aware of how tedious and expensive it is) to get an annulment from the courts. You spend perhaps not less than P200,000 because you have to pay lawyers while the case is ongoing. You have to spend. It is really a pro-poor measure,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

The governor also reiterated her support for the passage of the death penalty bill for drug-related crimes.

She lamented that the drug problem has destroyed communities and crimes related to it have worsened over time.

Following her return to the Capitol, the governor’s brother and successor in the third district, Rep. Pablo John Garcia, will take over the former’s proposed measures and will reintroduce them to the 18th Congress.

“As far as the amendments to the Local Government Code is concerned, Cong. Pablo John Garcia has assured me that he will be sponsoring the bills that I have filed, including as well the amendment to our Automated Election Law, which we shall now adopt the hybrid system wherein voting and counting will be done manually to ensure accuracy, while there will be an automated transmission of votes,” the governor said.

In Cebu City, South District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa wants to prioritize transportation and flood control projects.

“The transportation and flood control problems in our city, these need big funding,” he said.

Abellanosa said sheet pile walls will be set up in the Guadalupe and Bulacao Rivers, while the sheet pile wall at the Buhisan River is done.

He said similar projects will be implemented in the waterways of Suba-Pasil and Suba-Sawang boundary. But before these can get off the ground, Abellanosa said these will have to go through a procurement process.

As for transportation projects, he said concrete planning and funding are needed

Abellanosa said he will attend the budget hearing in Congress for his projects that have yet to be implemented and support these with documents approved by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

He also hoped his livelihood opportunities in Pasil will continue, as he also plans to build seafood restaurants for the less privileged.

“We will continue to advocate opportunities in the livelihood (for the less privileged),” said Abellanosa.

He hopes the Cebu City Government will also support the plans of the district office. (RTF, JJL)


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