Bid to split Laguna town still alive, proponents sayBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
STA. CRUZ, Laguna—A provincial ordinance that will divide a village of San Pedro town was revived in the form of a new resolution, this time pushing for the creation of a separate and distinct municipality of San Vicente in Laguna province.
Barangay (village) San Vicente, said to be the most progressive and biggest in San Pedro in terms of population, kept “alive” its bid to become a separate municipality from the town, with the filing of a resolution at the Laguna provincial board.
“Barangay San Vicente has all the qualifications to become a municipality,” said the village council resolution, signed by village chairman Allan Mark Villena and seven councilors.
The resolution, which was filed in August, is now being reviewed by the joint provincial board committee on laws and rules and barangay affairs. The first committee hearing was held in September.
According to the resolution, there is an “existing sentiment” among the population in the barangay for San Vicente to become a separate and distinct municipality.
For the creation of a new municipality, the Local Government Code requires a population of at least 25,000 as certified by the National Statistics Office; an average annual income of P2.5 million; and a contiguous land territory of at least 50 square kilometers as certified by the Land Management Bureau.
San Vicente has a population of around 86,000 and an annual income of P29 million to P35 million for the past three years.
“By next year, we are to submit documents from the DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] to certify the land area,” Villena said in a recent interview with the Inquirer.
In 1997, the Laguna provincial board passed an ordinance that was supposed to subdivide the barangay into seven smaller villages.
This was amended by another provincial ordinance in 2002, since the plebiscite, supposedly for the ratification of the seven newly created villages, “was not conducted within the required period due to lack of preparation,” said Laguna Provincial Board Secretary Francisco Macabuhay.
“But for some reasons, no plebiscite (again) took place (in 2002),” he said.
Sources in the provincial government here believed the 1997 ordinance was made supposedly to pave the way for the separation of San Vicente from its mother municipality of San Pedro.
“It must have been easier the other way around. They should have pushed first for the separation of San Vicente (as a new municipality) and its division into smaller villages should come next,” said a source, who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak.
If approved, the separation of San Vicente may prevent its mother municipality of San Pedro from becoming a city, said Board Member Benedicto Mario Palacol Jr., chairman of the committee on laws and rules.
San Pedro, the municipality of Laguna, which is closest to Metro Manila, is bidding to become a city, a campaign by Mayor Calixto Cataquiz.
In his letter to the committee in September, Cataquiz expressed his “vehement opposition” to the enactment of the San Vicente resolution, saying the municipal board, “which has more knowledge and supervision over the barangays, was not notified nor given the opportunity to be heard regarding the resolution.”
“There is a strong support from the people of San Pedro, Laguna, who oppose (the resolution) because they do not want barangay San Vicente to be separated from the municipality of San Pedro, Laguna,” Cataquiz’s letter added.