Really, Baguio City officials, don’t you have more important things to do? What will Baguio City gain in joining this silly suit filed by the League of Cities in the Philippines (LCP) against newly formed cities such as Tabuk in Kalinga Province?
Will it stop the uglification of Baguio? Will it improve the city’s quality of air so it becomes breathable and regains its pine scent? Will it stop the landslides that kill your constituents during heavy rains? Will it decongest a city bursting at the seams?
Seriously, will Baguio City’s problems disappear if Tabuk does not become a city?
The argument, stated in Baguio City’s petition, that local governments should not depend on the national government for their revenues would hold water IF most cities are not dependent on the national government. It’s bad, of course, to depend on the national government but so long as we have an overly centralized tax system then LGUs have no choice but to depend on their IRAs (internal revenue allotment) from the national government.
Sige nga, doesn’t Baguio also depend on its annual IRA remittances to survive? The fact that existing cities are too afraid that their IRA share will go down if more cities are created betrays their dependence on IRAs from the national government.
So, instead of joining this ridiculous suit to stop Tabuk from becoming a city, maybe Baguio City officials should campaign for a change in our tax system so that the bulk of the taxes (particularly for extractive industries like mining) goes to cities/provinces where they actually originate. Let us, for instance, force those mining companies to pay their taxes in Baguio and/or Benguet and not in Metro Manila. LGUs na lang ang mag-remit sa Imperial Manila if they want to or if they have something to spare.
Baguio has more important problems that the city officials should attend to. Its suit smacks of Big Brother bullying and deserves a Boo Award.
UPDATE: Kayni points out some valid concerns on urbanization and the challenges that Tabuk faces given its new status. She states: “If Tabuk wants to be a city, then it needs careful, environmental friendly, city planning.” Read more here.