CITYHOOD for the municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet may take a backseat anew.
The lack of land area remains a hindrance for the capital town to be Cordillera's third city after Councilor Arthur Shontogan expressed his dismay against his colleagues for rushing the proposal and railroading the committee report urging Benguet Representative Ronald Cosalan to re-file a bill in the 17th Congress.
Shontogan added the application for cityhood should be deferred until such time the municipality can already back-up the needed requisites particularly on the construction of basic facilities and resolve problems of land areas.
“We should re-study this first because at the moment we still lack the presence of viable basic facilities and moreover the total land area,” Shontogan said pertaining to the ongoing issue of land dispute with other neighboring municipalities.
Shontogan added the council should also take note that the growth of annual revenue and increased population number are only some of the few requirements for cityhood.
The alderman added the solid foundation will ensure that if city status be applied, it will be sustained perpetually.
Meanwhile councilor Marcelo Abela however said the cityhood should be fast tracked and the municipality has been clamoring to become a component city.
Abela said the province and the town should work together for the proposed resolution before the national administration settles for the approval a federal system of government.
“As much as possible, we need to build up on this identity. If federalism will be soon adopted it might again be a secondary priority and we would like to go away from that,” Abela said.
Section 450 of the Local Government Code mandates that a cluster of barangays or a municipality can be converted into a city if it has an average annual income of P20 million for the last two consecutive years, and a population of at least 150,000, or a contiguous territory of 100 square kilometers.
The minimum income requirement however raised to P100 million because of the passage of Republic Act 9009, which amended Sec. 450.
Since 2013, Cosalan has applied for an exemption for the lack of land area, as the town serves as the capital of the province as well as the hub for trading, education and institutional center.
La Trinidad, with a total land area of 7,004 hectares, has a 5.5 percent growth rate as population may soon hit 150,000. Records show in 2007, the town reached 97,000 population that swelled to more than 100,000 today.