Comelec deputy office wants Pagadian City plebiscite held after BSKE
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (ODEDO) of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recommended that the plebiscite to ratify the conversion of Pagadian City into a highly-urbanized city (HUC) be held after the October 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
The recommendation comes in the wake of the April 28, 2023 request of Pagadian City Mayor Samuel S. Co that the plebiscite be synchronized with the BSKE.
But ODEDO head Rafael B. Olaño, in his two-page letter addressed to Commissioner-in-charge for Plebiscite Aimee P. Ferolino, said the poll body is already “in the thick of preparation for other plebiscites already scheduled prior to the October 30, 2023 BSKE.”
Olaño likewise cited the Comelec’s “lack of material time to initiate preparatory activities for the said plebiscite.”
The poll official also noted the “the LGU’s lack of budget,” noting that the recomputed budget for the conduct of the plebiscite if it is synchronized with the barangay and youth elections would reach P78,482,046.77.
“The circumstances obtaining in the Pagadian plebiscite such as the LGU’s lack of budget, the mayor’s late request for synchronization, and the Commission’s lack of material time to initiate preparatory activities for the said plebiscite, are suggestive that it is more prudent to schedule its conduct after the October 30, 2023 BSKE,” Olaño said.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 1247 on November 08, 2021 converting the city of Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur into a highly-urbanized city after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) certified that it has met the required minimum population of 200,000 and above and an annual income of at least P50 million to be an HUC.
As of 2021, the PSA has certified that Pagadian City has a population of 210,452 persons, while the Department of Finance – Bureau of Local Government Finance certified it has an income of P270.774 million.
The conversion takes effect upon ratification in a plebiscite by qualified voters as provided for under the Local Government Code.