April 23, 2006

Aside from the city fiesta
LC dad urges celebration of Laoag cityhood day

On top of the annual celebration of the Laoag City fiesta every February, Laoag City Councilor Modesto Melvin M. dela Cuesta has urged local officials to also consider celebrating the day Laoag was declared as a city.

This was the message of Dela Cuesta in his privilege speech during the Sangguniang Panlungsod outreach session in Barangay Pila on April 5 as he narrated the history of Laoag as a municipality until it became a full-pledged city.

According to Dela Cuesta, who said he conducted an extensive research on the matter, Laoag was founded in 1580 by Conquistador Juan De Salcedo and was put under the province of Ilocos. In 1818, the Ilocos province was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. With the splitting of the Ilocos province, Vigan became the capital of Ilocos Sur while Sarrat was named the capital of Ilocos Norte.

In 1965, Dela Cuesta continued, the town of Laoag was converted into a city through Republic Act 4584, or “An act Creating the City of Laoag.”

The said law was enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippine Congress during the Fourth Session of the Fifth Congress. It was earlier filed as House Bill No. 9366 by then second district Congressman Simeon Valdez and the late Congressman Antonio Raquiza, who then represented the province’s first district.

The said House Bill was passed and approved on June 19, 1965 and RA 4584 took effect on January 1, 1966.

With the history of Laoag’s cityhood, extensively researched—as De la Cuesta said he even went to the Senate Library—the councilor has urged city officials to proclaim June 19 as a special day for the city, aside from the regular fiesta day.

Immediately reacting to this, Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas said he is in favor of proclaiming June 19 as a special day for the city but added that celebrations should not be on the same level of the city fiesta.

Celebration for Laoag’s cityhood day should be kept simple, Fariñas added, and should just be like the celebrations during national memorial holidays such as the Independence Day and the National Heroes’ Day wherein a simple flag-raising activity is conducted. The mayor further mentioned that it should also be a non-working holiday for the city.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reynaldo Garo, city Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) director, opined that the Sangguniang Panlungsod should first pass a resolution addressed to Malacañang requesting the approval of the President in the same manner that the council passed a resolution asking for the city’s fiesta day to be declared as non-working holiday for the city.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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