The renewed effort to consolidate and merge the 128 Barangays in the City of Baguio is once again at the forefront in a lot of peoples minds particularly those who are serving as barangay officials in the community. This is expected since any kind of merging or ‘amalgamation’ of barangays will naturally affect
the position and tenure of our barangay officials here in the locality.

The proposal to amalgamate or merge barangays in the city is not new since several administrations in the past have tried but failed to come up with a law, either in Congress or in the local city council, that would mandate the reduction in the number of barangays, and which would find favor with the affected and
concerned people of Baguio.

At the moment, banking on the observations made by the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), thru its Director IV Dennis D. Villaseñor, MNSA, CESO IV, the City Council under the stewardship of its Presiding Officer, Vice Mayor Hon. Faustino Olowan, have approved on first reading a proposed Ordinance entitled, “Approving the Merging of the 128 Barangays in the City of Baguio into 34 Barangays, Subject to the Limitations, Requisites, and Plebiscite
Requirement prescribed under the Local Government Code of 1991, as Amended”.

The observations of the DILG-NBOO which was contained in a letter dated October 10, 2022 and addressed to Hon. Benjamin Magalong, our city mayor favored the amalgamation of the barangays and
encourage the city as well as other local government units to pursue such objective pointing out that the merger “will result to a more viable, sustainable, and efficient management of barangay operations”.

In short with amalgamation barangays will be provided with enhanced capability and effectiveness in
discharging local governance and service to their constituencies. To bolster its observations the DILG-NBOO presented, in their letter, some statistics that would show that a majority of the barangays in the city are not fully compliant with the conditions mandated by the local government code for the creation of a barangay, such as that out of the 129 barangays only 35 barangays are compliant with the condition for population while 66 barangays fall within the range of those having a population of only 501 up to 2000.

Clearly then if the law is to be followed in the creation of a barangay only about 25% out of the 129 Barangays here in the city would be able to comply with the condition. It must be recalled that under the Local Government code it is provided in Section 8 thereof that, “Division and merger of existing local
government units shall comply with the same requirements herein prescribed for their creation”, and Section 385 provides that a barangay may be created, divided, merged, abolished or its boundary
substantially altered through a law (act of congress), thru an ordinance enacted by the local sanggunian, and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite conducted by the Comelec in
the local government unit/s directly affected. Further, the code in Section 386 thereof provides the requisites for the creation of a barangay and they are, “

(a) A barangay may be created out of a contiguous territory which has a population of at least two thousand (2,000) inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office except in cities and municipalities within Metro Manila and other metropolitan political subdivisions or in highly urbanized cities where such territory shall have a certified population of at least five thousand (5,000) inhabitants: Provided, That the creation thereof shall not reduce the population of the original barangay or barangays to less than the minimum requirement prescribed herein. Xxx.

(b) The territorial jurisdiction of the new barangay shall be properly identified by metes and bounds or by more or less permanent natural boundaries. Xxx.

(c) The governor or city mayor may prepare a consolidation plan for barangays, based on the criteria prescribed in this section, within his territorial jurisdiction. The plan shall be submitted to the sangguniang panlalawigan or sangguniang panlungsod concerned for appropriate action. As far as the city government is concerned a consolidation plan has already been made for the proposed amalgamation of the 128 barangays and already relayed to the Sangguniang Panlungsod which has also approved on first reading a proposed ordinance to merged the barangays in the city into 34 barangays.

The ball is now in the court of public opinion and this will be solicited thru the various public consultations to be conducted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod. As far as this writer is concerned merging the barangays is the right direction and aligned with the vision and objectives of the present administration in creating a
resilient and sustainable community for the people of Baguio.

Amianan Balita Ngayon