KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato – The cityhood aspirations of the municipalities of Polomolok in South Cotabato, Isulan in Sultan Kudarat, and Midsayap in the Province of Cotabato were among the major issues discussed during the CY 2020 Fourth Quarter Meeting of the Macro-Economy, Development Administration, and Finance Committee (MEDAFC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) XII on November 18, 2020.

Rep. Shirlyn L. Bañas-Nograles of the First Congressional District of South Cotabato presented House Bill No. 6432 which she filed in March 2020 that seeks to convert the Municipality of Polomolok into a component city.

Based on the presentation of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) XII, these municipalities have yet to meet the income requirement of PhP 100,000,000.00 for two (2) consecutive years based on the Year 2000 constant prices, pursuant to Republic Act 9009.  BLGF XII is requesting these municipalities to strengthen their revenue generation and revitalize tax collection mechanisms to meet the PhP 100,000,000.00-income requirement. It was agreed that the Sangguniang Bayans of these municipalities shall pass resolutions requesting their respective congressional representatives to act on their cityhood aspirations.

Polomolok, Isulan, and Midsayap are among the most competitive municipalities in the Philippines, and are the top-performing municipalities in SOCCSKSARGEN Region for the past years, based on the data of Cities and Municipalities Competitive Index (CMCI). They have the most number of banking and financial institutions, shopping centers, fast food chains, academic institutions, and other commercial establishments, as compared to other municipalities in Region XII.

The local government units (LGUs) of Polomolok, Isulan, and Midsayap expressed their sincere appreciation and gratitude for the efforts of RDC XII in support of their cityhood bids.  Once realized, each of the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat will have two (2) component cities.   At present, each province has one component city, namely: Kidapawan in Cotabato, Koronadal in South Cotabato, and Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat.

Other important regional development concerns brought up in the said meeting were the Supreme Court ruling on Mandanas Case, Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, implementation of the National ID System in Region XII, and establishment of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Consular Office in Kidapawan City. 

Preparations are now being done by the national government to comply with the Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas Case that would take effect by the year 2022 to allow a smooth transition of responsibilities from the national government to the LGUs. Nonetheless, the LGUs must be prepared and capacitated to absorb all of the corresponding responsibilities entailed by the said ruling.  (Jal P. Octavio, NEDA XII-PFPD)