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Cities’ demotion worries DepEd execs

First Posted 10:50:00 11/21/2008

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The decision of the Supreme Court (SC) demoting the status of Carcar, Naga and Bogo cities into a municipality could affect the operation of the Department of Education (DepEd) in these areas, a DepEd official said yesterday.

This is because DepEd has already designated division superintendents in these areas, said Dr. Serena Uy, Cebu Provincial Schools division superintendent.

But the designation of the schools division superintendents in those cities is temporary and they could always be appointed back to their old assignments.

The affected schools division superintendents are Bernardo Ysulan of Bogo City, Caridad Labe of Naga City, and Woodrow Denuyo of Carcar City.

Uy, however, said that the three officials were advised to stay put because the respective localities will be filing motions for reconsideration.

Uy said she is hoping that the SC will reverse the ruling, otherwise, it would mean that the divisions of Naga, Carcar and Bogo will be reverted back to the province.

Uy said these areas are also big, and it?s good for the students to have their own division.

Police however will maintain the status quo of the command of these three new cities despite the SC ruling.

Cebu Provincial Police Chief Carmelo Valmoria said there would be no changes in command within the police stations of Naga, Carcar and Bogo.

Despite the downgrade of these new cities into towns, Valmoria said that they would maintain the number of personnel of each of these towns? police stations.

He, however, said that the decrease in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of these three cities would hurt police in some aspects such as fuel aid for police vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toledo City Mayor Arlene Espinoza Zambo said yesterday that the affected mayors could file a motion for reconsideration of the SC ruling, but she believed that it?s very remote for the high court to reverse its ruling.

Zambo, who is the secretary of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP)-Visayas, said that she was happy and sad with the SC ruling.

She said she was glad that the high court upheld the LCP?s arguments against the 16 new cities all over the country, but she was sad because it affected three new cities in Cebu.

?Truth be told, I feel happy and sad at the same time because our fellow mayors were affected by the decision of the Supreme Court,? Zambo said. But as an officer of the League of Cities, we were only performing our duty.?

Zambo said the SC sustained their ground that these cities did not qualify after all, especially on income requirements.

Zambo said it?s very rare for the SC to reverse its ruling.

?Anyone can always ask for motion for reconsideration. But the way things are, it?s going to be difficult because it?s the Supreme Court making the decision,? she said.

The mayors of the new cities claimed that their programs and projects are affected by the ruling because it means that their share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) will also be slashed.

But Zambo said that?s what they felt when their IRA shares were suddenly cut after the approval of these 16 cities.

She cited Toledo City?s IRA share which was slashed by at least P32 million or P2 million each for the 16 cities.

Zambo said P32 million is a big amount and the reduction caused her to stop some of her projects.

?They were happy that their IRA increased, but we of the oldrer cities had our IRAs decreased. In the same way, we were also affected. We had to cut off a lot of projects and programs because of the decreased IRA,? she said.

Zambo said that the LCP is not against the elevation of any town into a city as long as these towns would follow the law, particularly the Local Government Code, in converting into cities.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, for his part, said the decision of the SC to void the cityhood status of the 16 cities would have been avoided if there was proper research made on the matter.

?I am very sorry for that. They should have studied that very well,? Cardinal Vidal told reporters yesterday.

The 77-year-old prelate said that the cityhood status would have spelled economic development for the municipalities concerned.

?For me, it is a disappointed. Because, for me, there should have been three cities that were knew that means progress,? he told reporters after leading the send off for the image of the Lady of Immaculate Conception of Oslob, which visited 17 parishes in the past month.

?What does that mean?? he asked regarding the decision to downgrade the municipalities.

But the prelate would not put the blame on a particular person or institution.

?I am very disappointed that it ended that way. That means that there was no real study made before they would be promoted,? he said. With Editorial Assistant Bernadette Parco and Correspondent Justin A.K. Vestil

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