BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Council has approved on first reading a proposed ordinance seeking to merge the 128 barangays of Baguio City to 34 barangays, subject to the limitations, requisites, and plebiscite requirements prescribed by the Local Government Code of 1191 or Republic Act No. 7160.
Authored by all members of the Baguio City Council, the proposed ordinance stated that, prior to the conduct of a plebiscite for the ratification of the merging of the barangays, an information and education
campaign as well as a series public consultation shall take place to encourage discussions among stakeholders and provide an avenue for the public to express their opinion.

Barangays to be merged shall be determined accordingly during the public consultation. A special committee shall be created consisting of the city mayor or their representative as the chairman and the city vice mayor or their representative as the co-chairman with the President of the Liga ng mga Barangay, President of the Federation of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, barangay district coordinators, city
assessor, city legal officer, city planning and development coordinator, and representative of the Commission on Elections- Cordillera Administrative Region or their representative as members.

The special committee shall recommend and submit to the Baguio City Council the final draft of the plan for the merging of the barangays, indicating the reduced number of the 128 barangays and their corresponding names. Furthermore, it shall formulate guidelines for the information and education campaign and the public consultation. It is also the task of the committee to ensure that the merging of the barangays is compliant with the requirements prescribed by the Local Government Code of 1991.

It shall see to it that the merging process shall not reduce the income, population, or land area of a barangay to less than the minimum requirements set forth by the Code and that the income classification shall not fall below what is required. For the annual honorarium of barangay officials of the 34 barangays, the proposed ordinance indicates that each punong barangay shall receive Salary Grade 14 or P32,321.00 per month and that sangguniang barangay members, barangay secretaries, and barangay treasurers shall receive Salary Grade 10 or P22,190.00 per month. Furthermore, barangay tanods and members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa shall receive P1,000.00 per month as their honorarium.

The total amount spent for the annual salaries and honorariums of barangay officials shall be
P120,042,168.00 with savings of P335,411,940.00. The Commission on Elections shall assist the City Government of Baguio in promulgating the rules and regulations to govern the conduct of a plebiscite.
The proposed ordinance has been referred to the city council’s Committee on Ethics, Governmental Affairs, and Personnel for review.

In her endorsement letter dated 17 October 2022, Department of the Interior Local Government City Director Millicent Carino that the total National Tax Allotment (NTA) of the 128 barangays amounting to P64,106,743.00 would be recomputed to comprise the NTA of the 34, 36, or 40 merged barangays. “We are optimistic that the newly merged barangays will receive a comparable share from the NTA considering that the total number of the barangays nationwide that will be sharing the NTA will be reduced from P41,935 to P41,846, P41,842, 41, 840 respectively (40, 36, and 34 options),” Carino stated in her letter.

She said savings may come from the reduced cost of personal services considering the decrease
in the number of barangays and that these savings may be used to implement new projects, programs,
and activities of the barangays to augment their budgetary allocation. The city director said that the amalgamation of the barangays will result in a “more viable, sustainable, and efficient” management of barangay operations.

SP/Jordan G. Habbiling

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