Comelec: SJDM local gov't may refile HUC bid

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO---The Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the weekend said the local government unit (LGU) of San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) in Bulacan province may refile its bid to become a highly urbanized city or HUC.

The agency issued the statement after a majority of the residents there voted "no" to its conversion.

During the plebiscite, which coincided with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections 2023 on October 30, a total of 820,385 registered voters in the entire province voted “No” while 620,707 chose “Yes”.

“No” won in 19 towns and three cities of Bulacan, including the city of San Jose del Monte, while “Yes” emerged victorious in the municipality of Marilao and city of Meycauayan.

Comelec Provincial Election Supervisor Mona Ann Aldana-Campos said there is no law prohibiting the city government of San Jose del Monte, a component city, from conducting another plebiscite.

But she added that it would be costly as the LGU spent some P35 million for the honoraria of teachers who served in the plebiscite.

Each teacher was paid P2,000 for their plebiscite duty on top of the P9,000 honoraria for BSKE 2023.

SJDM, Bulacan's largest place in terms of land area and population, was proclaimed a component city on September 10, 2000 under Republic Act 8797.

On December 4, 2020, former President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 1057 which aims to convert San Jose del Monte City into an HUC.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod of San Jose del Monte, released a proclamation through Resolution 2019-059-09, requesting the President declare SJDM to an HUC via a plebiscite.

The proclamation said the city has met the minimum requirements prescribed under Section 452 of RA 7160 for it to be classified as a highly urbanized city.

Under Section 452 of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, the city with a minimum population of 200,000 inhabitants, as certified by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and with the latest annual income of at least PHP50 million based on 1991 constant prices, as certified by the City Treasurer, can be classified as HUC.

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