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Conversion of Puerto Princesa into highly-urbanized city to boost tourism, agriculture PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 May 2007

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, May 2 (PNA) - The proposed conversion of Puerto Princesa City into a highly-urbanized city will further spur economic development in the entire province of Palawan.

”We can expect more investments to come in, particularly on the city government's economic policy direction that focuses on tourism and agriculture," said City Administrator Agustin Rocamora in an interview by the Philippines News Agency.

Rocamora, also a lawyer, said with infrastructure now put in place, Puerto Princesa is now ready to become a highly urbanized city.

He stressed the conversion was based on the Local Government Code that requires a minimum population of 200,000 inhabitants and P50 million income.

Rocamora explained that once declared as highly-urbanized city during a plesbiscite in the coming May 14 elections, the city will be independent from the provincial government of Palawan in terms of administrative supervision.

”There will be no changes of political leaders, but changes on administrative aspects," the city official said, adding that “Puerto Princesa will still be part of Palawan."

He said the situation is advantage for the city because city officials could decide on their own, especially on the concerns of economic development.

On the issue of taxation, Rocamora said the assessment level on taxes on residential, agriculture and commercial is the lowest in the country.

The city government only imposes 10 percent on residential and agriculture, and 16.5 percent on commercial establishments compared to other cities which collect 20 percent on residential, 40 percent on agriculture, and 50 percent on commercial.

On the issue of share from natural wealth, Rocamora explained that Section 292 of the Local Government Code states that highly-urbanized city will receive 65 percent if the natural wealth is located in the said city.

He believes that Palawan is surrounded with large deposits of gas and oil that would fund development not only in the province, but also in Puerto Princesa.

Rocamora however said the development will still depend on the economic policies the local government will be putting in place.

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here have intensified the information drive of the city urbanization to 66 barangays.

Halid Dawili, city DILG officer, said that all its personnel were deployed in three groups to conduct forum daily until May 12, last day of the campaign.

More than half of the barangays in the city are outside the poblacion; others are accessible by pumpboats.

Dawili said the barangay forum will focus on informing the public about the advantages and disadvantages of the conversion.

The city government, local radio stations, including DWRM-Radyo ng Bayan, Philippine Information Agency, non-government organizations, among others, are helping the DILG in the conduct of a comprehensive information drive. (PNA)


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