Creation of 8th town in Sarangani gets House committee nod

Sarangani Bay and Mt. Matutum. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 January) — Sarangani officials expect the passage by the House of Representatives before yearend of a bill that seeks the creation of another municipality in the province.

Sarangani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao said House Bill 1013 or “An Act Creating the Municipality of Malandag in the Province of Sarangani” has already been approved by the House committee on local government.

The bill seeks the conversion of Barangay Malandag in Malungon town as the province’s eighth municipality.

“This has long been the clamor of the people in the area. We expect that it will be passed this year,” he said.

Pacquiao filed HB 1013 on July 4, 2016 and was referred to the House Committee on Local Government on Aug. 1.

The committee, which is chaired by South Cotabato first district Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., passed the bill on “condition that (the proponents) secure a certification from the Land Management Bureau that there is no boundary problem between General Santos City and Malungon town.

Under the measure, 12 of Malungon town’s 31 barangays would be carved out to compose the proposed municipality of Malandag.

These are Barangays Malandag proper, Alkikan, Atla-e, Banahaw, B’laan, Datal Batong, Datal Bila, Datal Tampal, Kibala, Kiblat, Malabod and Nagpan.

Pacquiao said Malandag and the 11 other barangays have passed the requirements in terms of population, land area and income as provided for in Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.

As of the December 2017, Malandag alone listed a population of around 15,000 and Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of P9.2 million.

Based on the 2015 census, Malungon has a population of 103,604 and was the eighth most populous locality in Region 12.

It is one of the biggest towns in the region in terms of land area, which was measured at 750.92 square kilometers.

Pacquiao noted that “the people of the 12 barangays have been clamoring for the creation (of their area) into a separate municipality to develop and improve their economic and social condition.”

As a separate municipality, he said its expected shares in the IRA as well as in local and real property taxes will allow it to effectively and efficiently deliver various basic services.

It will enable the barangays to chart their own development plans and programs to promote public health, safety and general welfare, he said.

Malungon Mayor Maria Theresa Constantino said the local government fully supports the conversion of Malandag into a separate municipality.

She acknowledged that the town’s IRA share would be affected by the move but would benefit in the long term in terms of economic development.

The mayor said Malandag has tremendous potential in terms of development as it is presently the preferred destination of investors entering the area.

Compared to the town center of Malungon, which is situated amid rolling hills, she said the village has vast plains that could host various business ventures.

The Sarangani provincial board had also backed the proposed creation of the Malandag municipality, which took off from a bill filed in the 12th Congress by then Sarangani Rep. Erwin Chiongbian.

It was refiled in the 16th Congress by then Sarangani representative and now Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao but was not enacted. (MindaNews)