In a seemingly desperate but obsessed dream of guiding Daet into becoming a city, the local officials are into a frenzy of proposed redevelopment projects.
According to mayor Tito Sarion, “… we are presently in the process of implementing large-scale facelift projects such as the P30-million local government center, P30-million transport terminal and an improved airport as we prepare for cityhood.”
The big budget dream projects include a facelift of the town’s elevated plaza to decongest the downtown and rebuild the heart of the commercial district. On this the United Architects of the Philippines has agreed to design the plaza at the cost of P3-million grant provided by the party-list group Bayan Muna.
The project also entails the construction of a new legislative building, a provincial transport hub and improvement of the dated Bagasbas airport. Funds for the first two projects will be sourced through a loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines. The airport rehab fund will come from the Air Transportation Office.
Sarion foresees in the proposed government center the mobility and convenience as the plus factors in the conduct of transactions with provincial and national government agencies. The proposed legislative hall will afford the needed wider space and present better working environment.
Sarion asserts that the local government has sufficient income to support these developments as well in the pursuit for conversion of Daet into a city. He further claim the town’s total revenue in 2011 as listed by the Commission on Audit in its latest report was about P692 million, inclusive of its P590.2-million Internal Revenue Allotment for the same year. (Total revenue of P692M less IRA allotment of P590.2M, income generated from local source would be P111.8M)
Checking into the Bureau of Local Government, Daet is reported to have earned total local revenue of P77,802,144 in 2011, P51,468,693 in 2010, P45,435,152 in 2009 and P43,928,238 in 2008. According to the Local Government Code of 1991 with current amendments, a municipality can be converted into a component city when it has an average annual income from local sources of no less than P100M in two consecutive years as certified by the Department of Finance.
Reading more from the Code, the conversion will come easy if the municipality has a contiguous territory of at least one hundred square kilometers as certified by the Lands Management Bureau. It also look for a population of not less than one hundred fifty thousand inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office. Daet has a a minuscule land area of 46.00 sq. km. or 17.76 square miles. As of the 2010 census on population, the capital town is the most populous in the province of Camarines Norte at 95,572 inhabitants.
These facts should never worry the dreamers for conversion of Daet into their city. Look at the previous dozen or so cities which received their charter. Some have failed in one or all of the requirements- land area, population and total income received from local sources. Even the Supreme Court upheld their creation, after the hazles and legal tussles that ensued. By the way, not looking farther than out of the Bicol region, the city of Naga has a land area of 84.48 sq. km. only.
The provinces of Camarines Norte and Catanduanes remain the two Bicol local government units devoid of a capital city.