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Aquino declares Antipolo as Highly Urbanized City

President Benigno Aquino III has declared Antipolo City as a Highly Urbanized City (HUC) in a bid to support the local government’s initiative to attain its fullest development as a self-reliant community. In issuing Proclamation No. 124 last March 14, Aquino ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to hold a plebiscite after 120 days to allow Antipolo residents to vote on whether they want the city to be converted from its present status of a provincial component city to a highly urbanized and independent city. The issuance said the plebiscite shall be preceded by a comprehensive information campaign to be conducted by the poll body with the assistance of national and local government officials, media, non-government organizations, and other interested parties. “This proclamation shall take effect only upon ratification in a plebiscite by the qualified voters therein, as provided for in Section 453 of the Local Government Code of 1991," Aquino said in the issuance. Aquino said Antipolo has met the requirements cited under the Local Government Code to be qualified as an HUC. Among the requirements were a minimum population of 200,000 inhabitants as certified by the National Statistics Office (NSO), and annual income of at least P50,000,000. Antipolo, which is part of Rizal province, has a population of 633,971 based on the 2007 Census of the NSO, and an annual income of P1,238,131,681.42, inclusive of Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for the year 2010. The information is contained in Resolution No. 2011-010 which was passed by the city’s Sangguniang Panlungsod on January 31, 2011 and endorsed by city Mayor Nilo Leyble. Leyble said Antipolo’s conversion would enable the fast-tracking of the settlement of land disputes as the cases could now directly go through the regional trial courts instead of passing through the City council first. The conversion will also ensure a bigger IRA share which the city government could use for its programs and services, Leyble added. He said the city government would also be able to ask the national government directly for help, without having to go through the provincial government first, like in increasing the number of police detail in the city. Leyble, however, assured his constituents that the conversion will not lead to higher taxes as they would be using the present tax system that it has presently adopted. - KBK, GMA News