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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 6, 2018
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NHC recognizes
June 18 as charter day


The National Historical Commission recognizes that the Charter of the City of Bacolod took effect on its approval on June 18, 1938 making it technically the date of the cityhood of Bacolod City.

This was the NHC response to Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia in relation to its opinion on House Bill 5875, or an “Act declaring the 19 th day of June of every year a special non-working public holiday in the City of Bacolod.”

In his letter dated Feb. 23, NHC chairman Rene Escalante said the NHC has always acknowledged that Commonwealth Act No. 326 titled “An Act Creating the City of Bacolod”, or the “Charter of the City of Bacolod,” took effect on its approval on June 18, 1938, making this date, therefore, technically the date of the cityhood of Bacolod.

However, its inauguration by President Manuel L. Quezon on Oct. 19, 1938 as provided for by Proclamation No. 325 dated Oct. 3, 1938 (which amended Proc. No. 322 earlier setting aside Sept. 30, 1938 as the city’s inauguration day) formalized the creation of BacolodCity under C.A. 32, he said.

It recognizes that both dates, June 18 and October, 19, have basis in history.

While Oct. 19 was recognized under R.A. 7724 of 1994 as “Bacolod City Charter Day” and declared a non-working holiday in the city, only Congress is vested with the power to amend or repeal this law, to which power the NHC defers, Escalante said.

Leonardia said they re-emphasized in their letter to the HNC that the law was in effect upon its approval on June 18, 1938. At that point in time, Bacolod City was already born.

What happened after June 18 was only a formality of the installation of the city officials. So when R.A. 326 was signed into law, there was already Bacolod City just waiting for its officials to run the government, he said.

Leonardia said they cited the case involving Cebu in “Cebu versus Nawasa”, where the Supreme Court said that by statute, the City of Cebucame into existence as a political body Oct. 20, 1936 which was also the signing of the charter of Cebu.

They cited in the letter, that in 2012 when they discovered these facts, an ordinance was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod that declared June 18 as the signing date, he said.

Then on Oct 11, 2017, the SP expressed its full support to House Bill No. 7044 of Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, he added.

Leonardia said they also provided the NHC a copy of the photo showing the moment when Quezon signed Commonwealth Act 326 on June 18, 1938.

For us, this is a chance to legally correct this historical misconception, he said.

He asked for assistance from the NHC to rectify this historical misconception and to come up with a re-evaluation of its position on the issue, he added.

Leonardia said he appealed to some senators if they could resolve the matter as soon as possible. He has also talked to Senator Sonny Angara twice about it.

He said the NHC also acknowledge that the inauguration was another historical event, and at that time, a plebiscite was not yet required to ratify the law.

But while both dates – June 18 and October 19 are historical events, the NHC said that while they have basis in history, only Congress is vested with the power to amend or repeal this law, to which the power of the Commission defers, he said.

It means that whatever the decision of Congress, that will be what the NHC will recognize, Leonardia added.*CGS


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