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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesThursday, February 17, 2011
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SC flip-flops, affirms
Guihulngan cityhood
BY JUDY F. PARTLOW

Mayor Ernesto Reyes of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, yesterday expressed optimism that the latest ruling of the Supreme Court on the creation of 16 new cities in the Philippines will be final.

The Supreme Court yesterday reversed its decision last August 2010 that declared as unconstitutional the cityhood laws and Republic Acts converting 16 municipalities into cities, including Guihulngan.

Reyes said he is happy with the latest ruling but hopes that this will be final as the Supreme Court had already flipped-flopped on the issue for the third time.

A decision issued by the high court on December 2009 had declared the conversion of the 16 municipalities into cities.

Four decisions on the issue had been issued by the Supreme Court on November 2008, December 2009, August 2010 and on February 16, 2011, which high court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said, as quoted by the national media was an unusual case

Reyes, who is in Manila, said he learned about the SC ruling around 10 a.m. yesterday and added that he and his colleagues in the League of 16 will be meeting soon.

Declared constitutional are RA Nos. 9389 (creating Baybay City in Leyte), 9390 (Bogo City in Cebu), 9391 (Catbalogan City in Samar), 9392 (Tandag City in Surigao del Sur), 9393 (Lamitan City in Basilan), 9394 (Borongan City in Samar), 9398 (Tayabas City in Quezon), 9404 (Tabuk City in Kalinga), 9405 (Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur), 9407 (Batac City in Ilocos Norte), 9408 (Mati City in Davao Oriental), 9409 (Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental), 9434 (Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte), 9435 (El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental), 9436 (Carcar City in Cebu), and 9491 (Naga City in Cebu).

Reyes said he is also hoping that with the latest SC ruling, the Department of Budget will adjust the Internal Revenue Allotment share of Guihulngan from P122 million a year as a municipality to P332 million a year.

Guihulngan had received the city IRA share only in 2008 and since then, has been getting an IRA based on computations for a municipality.

Despite of the inconsistent SC decisions, Reyes said they have been “functioning” as a city and in fact, they have ten councilors today as mandated by the Commission on Elections during the May 10, 2010 national polls.*JFP

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