Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Subic lacks requirement for conversion to a city

SUBIC, Zambales - This southernmost town of the province, contrary to the hype being peddled by local officials and some provincial executives, is not yet qualified to become a city, lacking the required minimum locally generated average annual income to support its conversion, Vice Governor Ramon Lacbain II bared recently.

Lacbain, who hails from Subic town and is now eyeing the congressional seat of the province's first district, said the Department of Finance, through Bureau of Local Government Finance executive director Ma. Presentacion Montesa, has advised Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun in a letter dated January 30, 2007 the town did not earn enough revenues pegged at a minimum of P100 million a year to support its conversion into a component city of the province.

The town mayor had earlier requested the bureau of local government finance for a certification on the average annual income of Subic in connection with the proposal to convert the town into a component city.

"The locally generated average annual regular income of Subic, Zambales for calendar years 2005 and 2006 based on 200 constant prices and exclusive of special funds, transfers and non recurring income amounted to only Twenty-Three Million Three Hundred Seventy Thousand Three Hundred Thirty Pesos & 98 (P23,370,330.98). Hence the municipality does not meet the minimum income requirement of P100 million pursuant to RA 9009 amending Section 450 of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, to support its conversion into a city," Montesa' s letter to Khonghun stated.

Lacbain said he became interested to know more about the proposal to convert his town into a city and had even requested the House of Representatives for a copy of the bill supposedly filed by First District Representative Mitos Magsaysay.

"The Subic Cityhood Project is already a much talked-about by my townmates so I decided to get a copy of the bill so that a more thorough study could be done by everyone concerned," Lacbain said.

Lacbain, however, lamented that despite a resolution made by the Sangguning Panlalawigan on December 19, 2005 requesting the incumbent congresswoman of the first district to file a bill in Congress for the conversion of Subic into a component city of Zambales, he learned on May 22, 2006 in a letter from the House of Representatives Secretary General Roberto Nazareno there was no such bill filed in Congress yet.

Lacbain said all the hype by the town officials and some provincial executives actively pursuing the cityhood project appear to be an attempt only to make them look good in the eyes of Subic residents.

Lacbain added in relation to this that he has asked the Commission on Audit to look if there is also a basis on the part of the town officials to allocate a P5 million fund for the project when there was not even a bill filed yet.

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