Batac City Resumes Priority Projects

BATAC CITY, Feb. 20 – Buoyed by the new Supreme Court ruling, village officials here are setting their sights on the resumption of priority programs that have been shelved since mid-year of 2010 when Batac was stripped of its cityhood.

Batac’s 14 urban and 29 rural villages started to enjoy P1 million each as development assistance in 2007 when their internal revenue allotment share tripled from P55 million to P175 million after its conversion to city.

Batac Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta recalled that the city’s new status in 2007 ushered in the golden years for the villages because their increased revenue share would go a long way in supporting public service projects.

Up until mid-year of 2010, the villages continued implementing priority projects that were designed to improve the residents’ socio-economic conditions.

The villages’ P1 million allotments were utilized to build bridges, farm irrigation, drainage systems and other infrastructure facilities.

Through the fund, village officials were able to acquire lots for their barangay halls and improve existing ones.

Until the remaining year of 2010, Batac’s revenue share as a city was withheld and and so with the village projects.

“This was a reality that was understood by the barangays. (To continue with the projects without the necessary funding) would put the fiscal position of the city in great peril and danger,” Nalupta recalled.

Nalupta said he was hopeful that the new ruling reverting Batac and 15 other towns to cities would be the final decision handed by the high court.

“Looking back from where we had started in 2007, we say so much has been done. But much more can be done. There is no turning back then, but rather put ourselves on high gear to move faster and speedier,” he said.

All the efforts of building the new city of Batac must not be stalled, not even by the legal battles being fought in the Supreme Court,” he added. (Cristina Arzadon)