Espinoza: How’s the cityhood push for Liloan?

In his first term as representative of the fifth congressional district of Cebu, Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco filed House Bill (HB) 5031 in October 2019 for the conversion of his hometown into a component city of the Province of Cebu.

Congressman Frasco is now on his second term as representative of the fifth district after he was reelected in the last May general elections and is currently serving as one of the deputy speakers. His wife is Christina Garcia Frasco, who was also reelected mayor of Liloan in the last elections but had to vacate the post after she was appointed to the Department of Tourism as its Secretary. The Frascos are a power couple, so to speak.

But how is the HB 5031 of Congressman Frasco? I tried to check on the status of Frasco’s HB 5031, but I could not find any result. Will Congressman Frasco’s HB 5031 see the light before he finishes his second term?

Congressman Frasco said in a statement to the press after he filed HB 5031 that “the cityhood will undoubtedly open the floodgates of a multitude of economic opportunities for the people of Liloan, which will ultimately redound to the improvement of the delivery of services, but most of all, to the betterment of the quality of life of the people of Liloan and those living in its neighboring communities.” (The Freeman’s Oct. 5, 2019 issue.)

I think there is no doubt that Liloan will qualify in the two basic requirements for cityhood: 1) annual income of P100 million, and 2) a total population of 150,000. In that news story of The Freeman, it was reported that Liloan already achieved the P103 million annual income in 2018. Liloan’s population as of the 2015 census was yet below the cap of 150,000, but it was projected that it will increase in 2020 to 155,838 at a growth rate of 3.6 percent based on the 118,753 households.

Congressman Frasco stated in his HB 5031 that the conversion of Liloan from a municipality to a component city cannot be delayed anymore because the conversion will greatly boost the capacity of the local government unit to address and to respond to the increasing needs and demands of its constituents, investors and other visitors amid ever-changing economic and political landscapes.

During the term of then Liloan mayor Christina Garcia Frasco in 2019, the town was awarded the Top Model Municipality in the Philippines. Liloan was also declared The Manila Times’ Model Municipality for Education, for Revenue Generation and Business Friendliness and Care for the Elderly.

Before running for Congress, Franco had served his hometown as mayor for three consecutive terms.

There is no doubt now that the town of Liloan can pass the two basic requirements—the P100 million annual income and the 150,000 population. This could be the reason why the Municipality is constructing a new building near the existing municipal hall because it could be the City Hall.

But there are matters that would concern the residents and property owners because conversion of Liloan into a city would mean an increase in taxation on real property as well as fees for business permits and other economic activities.

The other issue that Congressman Frasco and the municipal or city officials should address is the worsening traffic right in the heart of the poblacion where the municipal hall is located along the national highway and at the intersection in front of the church. During peak hours on any day, except holidays, the traffic in this area is sometimes at a standstill.