Electric float parade wows fiesta revelers

BATAC CITY, Dec. 12 — At least 16 attractive electric floats showcasing fantasy characters captivated a big crowd of foreign and local tourists, visitors and city folks during Monday night’s glamorous opening parade in downtown Batac here which ushered in the city grand fiesta celebration.

Now on its eight year, this year’s electric float parade highlighted the opening of the annual fiesta celebration of Batac City, coinciding with the observance of Mary Immaculate Conception Feast Day and the 437th founding anniversary of Batac’s township.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and City Mayor Jeffrey Jubal Nalupta, together with the other city officials, graced the occasion.

“The electric float parade this year is very memorable because it is our expression of thanksgiving to Mama Mary for all the blessings that we have reaped this year and at the same time we are celebrating the opening of our city fiesta and the 437th founding anniversary of Batac township,” Mayor Nalupta said.

For her part, Marcos lauded the effort of the Batacquenos for the continuing success of the electric float parade, the first of its kind in Ilocos Norte.

“The electric floats you made were colorful and amazing which eventually attract our visitors,” she said.

History record showed that Batac was founded by the Augustinians in 1587 under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception.

Batac is the second oldest town established by the Augustinians in the province of Ilocos Norte. It marked its 4th centennial year in 1987. It was officially organized into a ministry on January 5, 1586. The first priest who evangelized the natives here was Fr. Esteban Marin, an Augustinian who arrived in Batac in 1585.

It was noted that the Batac City derived its name from the Iluko word “Batac” which means “pull” in English referring to “the people are pulling their efforts together” for unified development.

In 1998, Municipality of Batac qualified to become a city. Nine years later, under Republic Act 9407, Municipality of Batac became a component city of the Province of Ilocos Norte after its ratification by the people in a plebiscite conducted on June 23, 2007.

However, Batac lost its cityhood, along with 15 other cities, after the Supreme Court of the Philippines granted a petition by the League of Cities of the Philippines, and declared the cityhood law (RA 9389) which allowed the town to acquire its city status, unconstitutional.

Accordingly, the said 16 cities which the High Court ruled did not meet the requirements for cityhood in terms of income requirements, as mandated by Republic Act 9009.

More than a year later, on December 22, 2009, acting on the appeal of the so-called League of 16 Cities including Batac , the Supreme Court reversed its earlier ruling stating that “at the end of the day, the passage of the amendatory law (regarding the criteria for cityhood as set by Congress) is no different from the enactment of a law, i.e., the cityhood laws specifically exempting a particular political subdivision from the criteria earlier mentioned. As such, the cityhood status of Batac was legally restored.

On August 27, 2010, Batac City returned again to its municipality status as it shared the fate of 15 other cities, after the SC reinstated a 2008 decision declaring the cityhood laws converting the 16 municipalities into cities “unconstitutional”.

However, in February 2011, the High Tribunal upheld the cityhood of Batac and 15 other cities after a long legal battle. (JCR/FGL,PIA)