Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the proposed amalgamation of barangays that will effectively reduce the number of barangays in the city from 128 to 40 at the most must be pursued to finally address problems on the inequitable distribution of population and resources in the barangays.
The mayor said the current barangay set-up of the city has been flagged by the Dept. of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for transgressing provisions of the Local Government Code among which the population threshold of each barangay in a highly urbanized city.
He said there are barangays with populations that go below the 5,000 limit and there are others that go beyond it resulting in problems on the distribution of resources, delivery of services and even causing unnecessary expenditures.
He said the city needs to pursue it for purposes of economy, efficient delivery of basic services, more viable and sustainable management of barangay operations, improvement of local governance and professionalization of the salaries of the barangay officials.
The mayor was pleased that the majority of the city councilors have expressed full support to the program even as he admitted that the process will require time to complete.
“Our city council is very supportive of the program and we hope that with that it will get off the ground but still, it will require further engagements with the community through a series of public scoping, hearings which will be a lengthy process,” the mayor said.
He said the process also includes the conduct of a referendum which will also requires not only time but also a huge budget to undertake.
The mayor earlier formed the Task Force on Amalgamation of Barangays to work on the program.
“The task force is led by City Legal Officer Richard Dayag and composed of the Liga ng mga Barangay, City Planning, Development and Sustainability Office, City Assessor’s Office, City Budget Office, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Baguio, the Commission on Elections- Baguio, the City Mayor’s Office represented by its Special Services Division, and representatives from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Among its current activities is the review of the cost-benefit analysis on barangay amalgamation. Afterwards, the task force will conduct consultations with stakeholders to consider issues on population, land area, infrastructure or facilities and road networks, among others. Aileen P. Refuerzo