80-85% of the gross income tax of Bataraza comes from Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporaton (CBNC).

SOFRONIO ESPAÑOLA – Bataraza mayor Abraham Ibba is confident that their municipality will be able to meet the requirements to become a city soon.

Speaking briefly to Palawan News during the change of command ceremony for the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 at Camp Daypo, Barangay Abo-Abo in this town, Ibba said they will meet the income and populations requirements needed for the conversion.

“Ang annual income namin ay P100 million at ang population ma-me-meet naman namin kapag natapos ang census ng PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) sa susunod na taon,” he said.

In the past, a town can be a city if it is able to meet the required population of 50,000 and the local annual income of P50 million. However, the League of Cities in the Philippines (LCP) amended these, raising the requisites to at least 150,000 residents and P100 million income for three successive fiscal years.

Only an act of Congress can create or amend a city charter. Once it converts a municipality into a city, it can give certain powers that regular municipalities or even other cities do not have.

According to a census the PSA released in January 2018, first-class municipality Bataraza’s population is the biggest in size at 75,468 or 8.9 percent of the province’s total population.

The statistics authority said its population is continuously increasing due to the presence of two big mining companies, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC), that are drawing residents to establish and work there.

These companies are located in Brgy. Rio Tuba, the biggest and most populated among the province’s 367 barangays.

“Kapag nakumpleto na ang update ng PSA, confident tayo na maaabot natin ang required population. Kapag naging city tayo ay madadagdagan ang kapasidad ng Bataraza para sa economic growth. Madagdagan ang internal revenue allotment kumpara sa kung munisipyo pa rin tayo. Mas may autonomy din,” Ibba said.

The plan to convert Bataraza into a city was announced by Governor Jose Alvarez during the inauguration of its district hospital in Brgy. Marangas and the opening of the Palarong Panlalawigan on November 10.

He said the municipality’s P100 million income and land area qualify the southern town to become a city.

“By the first day of the session in January, we will file it kasi ang income ng Bataraza ay P100 million na. Sa area walang problema, sa population wala rin problema kaya magiging first city na ito,” Alvarez said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.