Bulacan rejects San Jose del Monte’s bid to be independent from province

Dwight de Leon

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Bulacan rejects San Jose del Monte’s bid to be independent from province

Screenshot from Facebook; Graphics by Nico Villarete/Rappler

This is the first electoral exercise since the 2021 Palawan plebiscite where advocates of a ratification bid lost to its opponents

MANILA, Philippines – Residents in Bulacan denied San Jose del Monte City’s bid to be autonomous from the provincial government.

Based on the certificate of canvass released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday, November 1, a total of 820,385 people voted “no” to the proposal to make San Jose del Monte a highly urbanized city (HUC), higher than the 620,707 people who voted yes.

The plebiscite on Monday, October 30, petitioned to ratify Proclamation No. 1057, a Duterte-time order that sought to convert San Jose del Monte from a component city into an HUC.

This is the first plebiscite in two years where advocates of a ratification bid lost to its opponents.

In 2021, the Comelec held a plebiscite seeking to finalize the division of Palawan province into three smaller provinces, but the “no” vote prevailed.

The city government of San Jose del Monte spent weeks trying to convince not just its constituents but voters in other Bulacan localities to support its bid to become a highly urbanized city, but the effort failed to overcome the challenge posed by those against the conversion.

Opponents had argued that the conversion would lead to higher taxes in the city, resulting in higher cost of living.

They were also worried that San Jose del Monte being autonomous from the province would put at risk the scholarship grants provided by the provincial government to students in the city.

San Jose del Monte meets the requirements of a highly urbanized city. Its population is more than 600,000, which is triple the 200,000 minimum as per the Local Government Code of 1991.

It had a net income of P141 million in 2022 – also above the P50-million threshold stipulated in the law. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.