THE municipality of Consolacion will seek a recount of its population after the latest tally failed to meet the 150,000-inhabitant threshold required to help the town achieve its dreams of cityhood.
In a post on the town’s Facebook page Thursday, September 23, 2021, Consolacion Vice Mayor Teresa “Nene” Alegado expressed disbelief that the town had a population of just 148,012 based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2020 survey, when the population of the thriving town in Metro Cebu had already reached 135,000 in 2015.
Under Republic Act 9009, which amended Section 450 of the Local Government Code of 1991, a municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has a locally generated average annual income of at least P100 million for the last two consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices, and either a contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers or a population of at least 150,000 inhabitants.
According to the local government unit (LGU), Consolacion can meet the income requirement, but it does not meet the land area requirement, which is why it hopes to become a city by meeting the population requirement.
It is unclear why Consolacion does not meet the land requirement when a 2015 report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicates that Consolacion’s estimated land area as of December 2013 was 147.20 square kilometers. The PSA report, however, did not indicate if this land was contiguous.
The town is petitioning the PSA to conduct a resurvey of seven barangays, whose population decreased based on the PSA Census of Population “kung ikumparar sa (compared to the) Registered Barangay Inhabitants (RBI).”
“We are not satisfied nga ang among pito ka barangay gipa-ososan kuno kay migamay ang population (that the population count was lowered in the seven barangays because the population reportedly declined). That is very impossible, and there is something wrong,” the LGU quoted Vice Mayor Alegado as saying.
The seven barangays in question are Cabangahan, Cansaga, Nangka, Pitogo, Poblacion Occidental, Tugbongan and Tolotolo.
Consolacion has a total of 21 barangays.
The Sangguniang Bayan has crafted a resolution and Mayor Joannes “Joyjoy” Alegado has also written to the PSA on this resurvey, which the PSA said would cost the local government. The LGU is willing to fund the resurvey, the town said.
A first class municipality, Consolacion describes itself as the gateway of the north with a robust residential urban economy providing a place to live for people working in neighboring local government units.
As early as 2015, Alegado, who was then the town’s mayor, had submitted an application for Consolacion’s cityhood, but the town was unable to meet the requirements, the town said.
Consolacion is not the only town in Cebu seeking to become a city.
Representative Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco (Cebu, fifth district) has filed House Bill 5031 seeking to convert Liloan into a component city. In the explanatory note to the bill, Frasco describes Liloan as having 52.1 square kilometers of land area.
The 2020 Census places Liloan’s population at 153,197 residents.
Also in 2019, Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, third district) voiced his intention to work for Balamban’s conversion into a city, citing its land area of 333.56 square kilometers, and its income, which he did not specify. Balamban is famed for its shipbuilding industry.
Based on the 2020 census, it does not meet the population requirement.
Garcia told SunStar in 2019 that Balamban’s share of revenues from the National Government, called the Internal Revenue Allotment, would double or even triple if it was converted into a city.
He added that cities also have more revenue powers, so they could tax more activities than a municipality could.
Garcia has filed House Bill 1574 seeking to convert Balamban into a city. (CTL)