Lacson bill eases requirements for municipalities to be upgraded to cities

Prosperous municipalities may now have one less stumbling block to becoming cities, if a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is passed into law.

Lacson’s Senate Bill 233 seeks to amend the Local Government Code such that municipalities that generate an income of at least P250 million for two straight years will be exempted from other cityhood requirements including population and land area.

“(T)here are some municipalities, which despite their small land area or population have demonstrated their capacity to provide essential government facilities and social services to their inhabitants that are comparable and even above par with existing cities,” Lacson said. 

[Download: Senate Bill 233, Requirements of Conversion of a Municipality into a Component City]

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He said the Local Government Code’s present requirements for a municipality or cluster of barangays to become a component city include an annual income of at least P100 million, a territory of at least 100 square km, or a population of at least 150,000.

Yet, he said it would be unfair to residents of municipalities to be denied cityhood because their town is smaller than 100 square kilometers or has a population of less than 150,000.

Lacson’s bill amends Section 450 of Republic Act No. 7160, exempting a municipality from the land and population requirements if it generates at least P250 million for two consecutive years. Three years after the bill is passed into law and even three years thereafter, the P250-million threshold amount shall be increased by five percent.

Also, Lacson noted many small states had been established even with small populations or land areas, including Monaco (1.81 sq. km., population of 32,000); the island state of Naura (22 sq. km., population of 13,000); Tuvalu (23.3 sq. km., population of 12,000); San Marino (62.13 sq. km., population of 29,000).

“If the above political entities have attained their status as independent states despite their small populations and land areas, municipalities which have time and capacity to thrive despite their small population and land area must be allowed to upgrade their status to that of a city,” he said.

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