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Cityhood Laws; Equal protection.

The petitioners in this case reiterate their position that the Cityhood Laws violate Section 6 and Section 10 of Article X of the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause, and the right of local governments to a just share in the national taxes. This was denied by the Supreme Court. Congress clearly intended that the local government units covered by the Cityhood Laws be exempted from the coverage of R.A. No. 9009 (the Cityhood Law). The House of Representatives adopted Joint Resolution No. 29, entitled Joint Resolution to Exempt Certain Municipalities Embodied in Bills Filed in Congress before June 30, 2001 from the coverage of Republic Act No. 9009. However, the Senate failed to act on Joint Resolution No. 29. Even so, the House of Representatives readopted Joint Resolution No. 29 as Joint Resolution No. 1 during the 12th Congress, and forwarded Joint Resolution No. 1 to the Senate for approval. Again, the Senate failed to approve Joint Resolution No. 1. Thereafter, the conversion bills of the respondents were individually filed in the House of Representatives, and were all unanimously and favorably voted upon by the Members of the House of Representatives. The bills, when forwarded to the Senate, were likewise unanimously approved by the Senate. The acts of both Chambers of Congress show that the exemption clauses ultimately incorporated in the Cityhood Laws are but the express articulations of the clear legislative intent to exempt the respondents, without exception, from the coverage of R.A. No. 9009. Thereby, R.A. No. 9009, and, by necessity, the LGC, were amended, not by repeal but by way of the express exemptions being embodied in the exemption clauses. League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al./League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al./League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al., G.R. No. 176951/G.R. No. 177499/G.R. No. 178056. April 12, 2011.

Cityhood Laws; Just share in national taxes. The share of local government units is a matter of percentage under Section 285 of the Local Government Code (LGC), not a specific amount. Specifically, the share of the cities is 23%, determined on the basis of population (50%), land area (25%), and equal sharing (25%). This share is also dependent on the number of existing cities, such that when the number of cities increases, then more will divide and share the allocation for cities. However, the Supreme Court noted that the allocation by the National Government is not a constant, and can either increase or decrease. With every newly converted city becoming entitled to share the allocation for cities, the percentage of internal revenue allotment (IRA) entitlement of each city will decrease, although the actual amount received may be more than that received in the preceding year. That is a necessary consequence of Section 285 and Section 286 of the LGC. In this case, since the conversion by the Cityhood Laws is not violative of the Constitution and the LGC, the respondents are thus also entitled to their just share in the IRA allocation for cities. League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al./League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al./League of Cities of the Philippines etc., et al. v. COMELEC, et al., G.R. No. 176951/G.R. No. 177499/G.R. No. 178056. April 12, 2011. Local Government; Requisites for creation of province. The central policy considerations in the creation of local government units are economic viability, efficient administration, and capability to deliver basic services to their constituents. The criteria prescribed by the Local Government Code,i.e., income, population and land area, are all designed to accomplish these results. Without doubt, the primordial criterion in the creation of local government units, particularly of a province, is economic viability. This is the clear intent of the framers of the LGC. However, there is an exemption provided in the Local Government Code in terms of the land area

requirement. When the local government unit to be created consists of one (1) or more islands, it is exempt from the land area requirement as expressly provided in Section 442 and Section 450 of the LGC, if the local government unit to be created is a municipality or a component city, respectively. This exemption is absent in the enumeration of the requisites for the creation of a province under Section 461 of the LGC, although it is expressly stated under Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. The Supreme Court found no reason why this exemption should not apply also to provinces. In fact, the Supreme Court observed that considering the physical configuration of the Philippine archipelago, there is a greater likelihood that islands or group of islands would form part of the land area of a newly-created province than in most cities or municipalities. It is, therefore, logical to infer that the genuine legislative policy decision was expressed in Section 442 (for municipalities) and Section 450 (for component cities) of the LGC, but was inadvertently omitted in Section 461 (for provinces). Thus, when the exemption was expressly provided in Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR, the inclusion was intended to correct the congressional oversight in Section 461 of the LGC and to reflect the true legislative intent. The Court thus upheld the validity of Article 9(2) of the LGC-IRR. Rodolfo G. Navarro, et al. Vs. Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, et al., G.R. No. 180050. April 12, 2011.