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Comelec affirms Bogo is now 6th city of Cebu

June 18, 2007 07:01:00
Jolene Bulambot
Visayas Bureau

CEBU CITY -- From five component cities, the province now has six after the Commission on Elections proclaimed Saturday night the conversion of the municipality of Bogo into a city.

The former agricultural town in northern Cebu held a plebiscite on June 16. About 60 percent of 40,278 registered voters cast their ballots.

Bogo election officer Jose Minguez said Republic Act No. 9370, which legislated cityhood for Bogo, immediately took effect after the proclamation, making June 16 as the Charter Day of the new component city.

“The residents of Bogo have spoken through the plebiscite and now Bogo is officially a city,” he said.

Other component cities of Cebu are Danao, Toledo, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay. Cebu City is classified as a highly urbanized city and independent from the province of Cebu.

Minguez said 24,488 out of the total number of registered voters cast their votes on Saturday. A total of 23,955 voted “yes” while 482 voted “no” to Bogo’s cityhood.

Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez (4th District) filed the bill in 1999 but it was only in January 2006 that it became law.

Outgoing Bogo Mayor Celestino Martinez III told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the proclamation of Bogo’s cityhood was a “dream come true and an achievement” that the residents had been waiting for the past nine years.

Bogo City is composed of 29 barangays (villages) with a population of 80,000 and with an Internal Revenue Allotment of P38 million, Martinez said.

Mayor-elect Celestino Martinez II, the father of the outgoing mayor, said that crafting the new city’s master plan would be first on his agenda after his assumption to office.

The older Martinez, a former congressman in the fourth district, said Bogo City would be Cebu’s center for trade and commerce and an economic gateway to Samar, Leyte, Masbate and nearby provinces.

Provincial election supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said the conduct of the plebiscite was generally peaceful despite the contested May 14 elections where several election returns have yet to be canvassed because of election protests filed by both congressional candidates, outgoing Mayor Martinez and his rival, businessman Benhur Sa-limbangon.

Two units from the Special Reaction Unit from the Cebu Provincial Police Office supervised the plebiscite.

Castillano said Comelec Manila was still setting aside the 18 election returns pending a hearing scheduled for June 26.

Martinez and Sa-limbangon have exchanged accusations of political fraud, prompting the local board of canvassers to stop the canvass and bring the ERs to Manila for technical evaluation.

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