Mr. President, fellow members of this august chamber, I have the honor to co-sponsor Committee Report No. 270 — a proposed bill that will allow our municipalities to sustain economic viability by attaining cityhood through an exemption from the requirements for city conversion and at the same time, ensure fiscal equity among our existing cities with the adoption of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) portability.
Mr. President, the principles of creating a sovereign state are simple: the population must be numerous enough to preserve a political entity; its land large enough to sufficiently provide for its people.
Testament to this are the small states such as Monaco, the island state of Naura, Tuvalu, and San Marino — none of them having a land area bigger than 25 square kilometers and population of over 35,000, yet all of them have attained the status as independent states.
The City of Rome, named the smallest city in the world, covers only 1,285 square kilometers but it has kept its glory and grandeur being a powerful economic force of Italy. In fact, it accounts for 6.7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Mr. President, we take stock of these prospects for change. We can accord the same regard to our municipalities which thrive to generate their local income at a level comparable or even outperforming the fiscal competence of some cities.
The demographics of municipalities as a requisite to cityhood tend to put some of our municipalities at a disadvantage: simply because they have fewer people and smaller lands make it impossible for them to attain cityhood. Hence, the bill proposes a logical exemption to the general rule for the conversion to cityhood for municipalities that generate a local income of P400 million, without the restrictive requirement of the size of its land area or population.
In the same way, the bill ensures that all our 146 cities as of date will not be burdened by the addition of the converted municipalities to their roster. To cushion the impact of this conversion to the IRAs of existing cities, an IRA portability provision is included where the municipality concerned will bring with it its IRA’s share to the League for three years after the effectivity of this proposal.
Mr. President, by opening the doors to cityhood for qualified municipalities, we allow the local governments to fully operationalize their functions, we address the inequity in national resources, we provide a greater number of our people the effectual impact of being a city — better delivery of public services and a fair share of our progress.
To this end, it is the honor and privilege of this Representation to co-sponsor this Committee Report.
Thank you, Mr. President.