“We deserve to be a city, too”

Mayor Michelle Rabat, in an interview at a press conference held here last Sunday, even said the complaining cities should not complain at all, because they are not supposed to rely on their IRAs having been around for some time already.

The League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) has filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the conversion of 16 municipalities, including Mati, to cities. They claimed many of these municipalities do not qualify to become cities, and that the creation of new cities has caused the reduction of the existing cities’ share of the IRA.

"We have as much right to become a city as any other," stressed Rabat, noting that Mati, being an old town even older than Davao City, has a right to become a city. She pointed out that Mati complied with all the requirements needed to become a city.

Rabat noted that Mati, Davao Oriental’s capital, has an annual revenue of more than P80 million, and thus qualifies to become a city.

She pointed out, too, that Davao Oriental did not have a city before Mati’s upgrade. Mati became a city only last year.

Their share of the IRA, Rabat said, would be of great help to the young city.

She promised that five years from now, there would be more developments in Mati with the added money.

Vice Mayor Cesar de Erio, meanwhile, accused the complaining older cities as “selfish.”

He likewise criticized Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy for signing the LCP petition after promising him that he would not. Tagum is the capital of Davao del Norte.

"We are most qualified to become a city because even when we were still a municipality, we were acting like cities," De Erio claimed.

He urged the older cities to instead help the new cities. (MindaNews)