Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas was elected as Region I representative of the League of Cities in the Philippines during the group’s three-day convention held recently.
Fariñas said he was voted to represent all the city mayors in Region I in LCP’s executive board.
In view of this, Fariñas said he would regularly consult with his fellow city mayors in the Ilocos Region to find out if they would have anything to tell or consult with the board.
The Laoag mayor also took the opportunity to thank his colleagues at the LCP for voting for him and thereby giving him their trust to represent them in the executive board.
Mandaluyong City Mayor Benjamin Abalos was elected LCP national president.
Meanwhile, Fariñas said he again presented an earlier proposal to convert Laoag into a highly urbanized city in the same convention. The proposal was presented to Calbayog City Mayor and LCP Secretary General Mel Sarmiento.
According to Fariñas, Sarmiento advised him to formalize the proposal for it to be presented to the board as he said the Calbayog mayor is in favor of the proposal, citing that these would help cities in the country.
Among the advantages of being a highly urbanized city is having its own congressman and the quarry permit would have to come from the city government.
Fariñas however clarified that the proposal is not a means to detach Laoag away from the provincial government but the primary intention for this is for the city to attain more economic prosperity, progress and development.
Fariñas also said the issue might be treated as political but he reiterated that his motivation is solely based on further progress of the city.
Fariñas further mentioned that the only problem facing the conversion is the city’s population, which is below the requirement, but he is hopeful that the population has increased after the latest census.
He said that it should be remembered that once a person has resided in a place for at least six months, he should be considered a resident of the place. He made special mention of students who are studying in the city as well as workers who have resided in the city for more than six months.
The annual budget of the city government of more than P300 million for the past three years has passed the minimum requirement as far as budgets are concerned.
The mayor is hopeful that the LCP would immediately act on the matter should the proposal be formalized as he said he learned that it is not only Laoag which has proposed the same but other cities around the country as well.
In this case, he said all these cities would unite to lobby the LCP.
Dominic B. dela Cruz