QC mayor Bautista seeks 'independent Metro Manila state'
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Thursday, August 17, called for the creation of a unified “Metro Manila state," as he pushed for autonomy and independence for the National Capital Region.
“Ang Metro Manila ay dapat maging independent state na rin. Ang Metro Manila ay [dapat] magkaroon na rin ng autonomous region (Metro Manila should be an independent state too. Metro Manila should be an autonomous region),” Bautista said during the opening of the new Cubao Police Station inside Camp Panopio, Quezon City.
Bautista reasoned that uniting the region would streamline managing its public institutions. Among those specified by Bautista were airports, health centers, and state-run universities and colleges.
"Kung 'di kayang aprubahan ang federalism, chinachallenge natin ang Kongreso, both ang House at Senate, na gawin na nating estado, ngayon pa lang, ang kabuuan ng Kalakhang Maynila (If federalism will not be approved, we are challenging Congress, both the House and the Senate, to make all of Metro Manila into a state now),” Bautista said.
He said the independence he was proposing would be similar to that of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
While the call was a move for independence, the Quezon City mayor said he remained “supportive” of the national government, specifically, President Rodrigo Duterte, a staunch advocate of federalism.
Bautista said his proposal for autonomy was justified because Metro Manila contributes to a third of the national budget or at least a trillion pesos.
This is not the first attempt to unite the nation’s most developed region.
The NCR was created by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 824, which recognized the region as a legal entity responding to the region’s rapid economic and population growth.
To provide unity without usurping the autonomy of the local government units (LGUs), the Metro Manila Council (MMC), the precursor of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), was created.
Still, it was and remains to be a special development and administrative region subject to direct supervision of the President.
However, the MMDA could not completely enforce its orders as some city councils see these as an invasion of their legislative powers.
Two bills seeking to strengthen the MMDA have been filed at the House of Representatives. – Rappler.com