The proposed conversion of the Municipality of Bataraza into a component city reflects not only the continued progress of Bataraza but will also grant greater autonomy to the local government unit, according to legislators.
House Bill (HB) No. 6278 or “An Act Converting the Municipality of Bataraza in the Province of Palawan into a Component City to be known as the City of Bataraza” was jointly filed recently by Palawan representatives Cyrille “Beng” Abueg-Zaldivar of the Second District, Franz Josef George “Chicoy” Alvarez of the First District and Gil “Kabarangay Jr.” Acosta Jr. of the Third District.
With the town’s P200-million annual revenue and a land area that qualifies to become a city, the proponents are positive that the measure will push through.
The said bill was already received by the Bills and Index Division of the House of the Representatives last Feb. 12.
If the town of Bataraza successfully converted into a city, it will be the first city in the southern part of Palawan or in Palawan del Sur if the division of the province will also become successful. And if it happens, Bataraza will be the Philippines’ closest city to Malaysia.
In the explanatory note of the HB. 6278, the proponents reiterate that their earnest recommendation to approve the proposed measure is in view of the policy of the state that its “territorial and political subdivision shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy.”
They also added that it is likewise accorded for the role of the state to “provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby LGU’s shall be given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources.”
Bataraza, a first-class municipality composed of 22 barangays has a population of 75,468 people based on the 2015 Census of Population of PSA. The town, which has a land area of 726.20 km², relies on its major industries, for instance, farming, fishing, nickel mining, and processing.
The municipality was once part of the Municipality of Brooke’s Point and was converted into a municipality in 1964 by virtue of RA 3425. It was named after Datu Bataraza Narrazid, a Muslim chieftain and the father of Brooke’s Point’s first mayor and former mayor, Datu Sapiodin Narrazid.
Last year, Gov. Jose Chaves Alvarez told the PDN team that his leadership “is inclined to have Bataraza as a component city for the soon-to-be province of Palawan del Sur.”