NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. backed the plans of Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco to make Kabankalan a "highly urbanized city (HUC)."
Kabankalan has the potential to be a highly urbanized city, Marañon said.
If it happens, Kabankalan would be next to Bacolod City, and like Bacolod, it will become politically independent from the province.
Zayco said he will push for the re-classification of Kabankalan from a component city into a highly urbanized city to maximize its resources and fast-track its development.
Zayco, who spoke at the 13th Charter Anniversary of Kabankalan City Wednesday, said he will check if his city meets the requirements for the HUC status. If it does, he will apply for it.
Ma. Joy Marideth Madayag, provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government, said the Local Government Code provides that a city should have an annual income of at least P500 million and a minimum of 200,000 population to qualify for an HUC status.
After these requirements are met, the conversion of a component city into a HUC will only need a presidential declaration. However, such declaration is still subject to a plebiscite, she added.
Zayco said Kabankalan City has an Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of P604 million.
He will still check with the National Statistics Office if the current population of his city already reached the 200,000 mark.
The mayor stated that, once Kabankalan City becomes a highly urbanized city, it can also qualify as a lone district.
With the countryside development fund allotted per district, the budget for the city will increase and this will redound to more projects and developments, he explained.
Zayco, who also served as mayor of Kabankalan before serving as board member, vice governor, and governor, promised his constituents that “progress will continue in Kabankalan.”
Under his helm, he envisions to make Kabankalan as the center of trade, commerce, and education in southern Negros Occidental.
More businesses mean more job opportunities, and the business and real property taxes “will flow back” to Kabankalanons, he said.
He revealed that, in his visits to various business establishments in his city, he learned that 80 percent of their employees are Kabankalanons and he expressed his thanks to these business owners.
Zayco also assured his constituents that he will continue the programs of his brother, former Kabankalan City mayor Pedro Zayco, who is now board member of the sixth district.
His programs will focus on livelihood and basic services, he said.
Other officials who attended Kabankalan’s Charter Day activities with the governor were Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr., sixth district Representative Mercedes Alvarez, Board Members Pedro Zayco, Helen Zafra, Mae Javellana, Raul Rivera, who is the president of the Philippine Councilors’ League of Negros Occidental and a councilor of Kabankalan. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)