TABUK CITY… I INSIST
It had been a rough week. Not only for us Tabukeňos but also for the populace of the other 15 towns whose cityhood laws were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last Nov. 18. Amidst the flurry created by the news, there had been a steady media coverage on the issue.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer simply said SC reverts 16 Cities to Town status. In the article written by Dona Pazzibugan, it was stressed that the Supreme Court upheld the petition of the League of Cities of the Philippines, which argued that the "wholesale conversion" of municipalities into cities would reduce the share of existing cities in the Internal Revenue Allotment, since more cities would share the same amount of internal revenue set aside for all cities.
Manila Bulletin plastered in its pages Supreme Court declares 16 cities Unconstitutional, while Manila Standard Today announced High Court voids 16 Cityhood laws.
Marieton Pacheco wrote in the online news bulletin of ABS-CBN: Supreme Court strikes down Cityhood of 16 Towns, while GMA’s online version said Supreme Court declares cityhood laws unconstitutional.
Two days after the decision, People’s Journal shouted out SC lauded on Cityhood ruling, where it emphasized Sen.Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.’s view that “the Supreme Court decision voiding the cityhood status of 16 cities will bring back order and sanity to the practice of elevating local government units to higher levels.”
Amita Legaspi of the GMA News Online concurred with it via her story titled Pimentel Lauds SC ruling Voiding cityhood Status of 16 Cities. Pimentel, it is noted, was the principal author of the Local Government Code.
The Visayas Bureau of the Philippine Daily Inquirer cried out Visayan cities lament SC Downgrade. The article mentioned that mayors of six cities in the Visayas lamented the Supreme Court ruling that effectively revoked their cityhood, saying it would be a big setback to their development programs.
With the coverage that the issue has been receiving – not to mention its hour-after-hour broadcast through both the radio and TV, plus the heated discussions that are presently going on in various chat rooms and in the online forum of different websites – I can only sit down, and feel deprived of my chance to be called a city dweller.
Unfair, isn’t it?
But all is not lost. A day after the ruling, the Philippine Daily Inquirer printed an entry from its Northern Luzon Bureau titled Luzon towns to pursue cityhood Fight. In the article, our very own City Mayor, Camilo Lammawin Jr., said they would file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court decision. It went on to say that two mayors in Isabela – Amelita Navarro of Santiago City and Caesar Dy of Cauayan City – are optimistic that the tribunal would eventually uphold the cityhood of the 16 with their rightful share of the internal revenue allotment. Also, Batac Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta blamed the League of Cities of the Philippines for the ruling, saying that the league’s opposition against their cityhood had to do with greed.
Every weekend, I travel from Tabuk City to Batac City in Ilocos Norte to attend masters’ classes at the Mariano Marcos State University there. I have always felt like I travel from one city to another.
But now what?
My, my… I, of course, would not want to reprint my call card and remove the word City in it. The word stays. Let us be optimistic.
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