The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill converting the municipality of Sto. Tomas in the province of Batangas into a component city.
House Bill No. 5160 was sponsored by Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, and was passed with 19 affirmative votes and zero negative votes.
"Like the national hero Miguel Malvar, a native of this town and among the first of countless Filipino revolutionaries, Sto. Tomas is also leading the way towards progress among local government units," Angara said.
Angara said that the "thriving" town of Sto. Tomas was one of most populous in the whole country, and clearly met the population requirement indicated by the Local Government Code.
"The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) has certified the municipality's average annual income at more than P230 million, which is also well above the require amount for conversion," he said.
Angara noted that Sto. Tomas hosts a 600-megawatt solar panel factory, the first of its kind in the country, and a multinational paints supplier factory that would produce paints for many industries.
"If we provide enough resources for flourishing towns like Sto. Tomas, then more Filipinos are given the chance to relish this bountifulness," he said.
According to Angara, a great part of national development is dependent "on the quality and capacity of the country's local government units."
"Our national government agencies have drawn economic plans that entail the expansion of the economy outside urbanized cities to dissipate concentrated gains. But to accomplish this goal requires solid foundations, not just of the national agencies, but also of our local governments," he concluded.
A municipality or a cluster of barangays may be converted into a component city if it has an average annual income of at least P100 million in the last two consecutive years based on 2000 constant prices and either a population of at least 150,000 inhabitants or a contiguous territory of 100 square kilometers.