Comelec to lead Ormoc plebiscite

Ormoc City — The Commission on Elections in Eastern Visayas announced that it will conduct a plebiscite that will determine if it will keep the present 110 barangays of the city or reduce them to 85 on 8 October 2022.

The regional poll body also disclosed that Comelec chairperson George Garcia will be in the city to keep an eye on the electoral process to ensure that it is conducted in a rightful and orderly manner.

Rep. Richard Gomez, City Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez, Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo Locsin Sr. and the members of the 16th Sangguniang Panlungsod have been going around different barangays to campaign for “Matam-is nga YES” for the merging of some barangays.

They said that voting “yes” is “both an affirmation and confirmation of their cooperation to bring a brighter future for the next generation.”

Torres-Gomez said she supports the initiative to merge barangays in the city to enable the local government to enhance the delivery of social services to the people.

“Not all barangays have complete services for the residents. We have to consolidate the 28 barangays and divide it into four so that every barangay will have a barangay hall, health center, children’s playground,” said Torres-Gomez.

She added that under the present set-up, many barangays do not meet the requirements set by the law on the minimum population.

“Some of the barangays have a very small population, some have less than 1,000 residents,” she said.

Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 stipulates that a barangay should have a population of at least 2,000 inhabitants. The code allows the merging or abolition of barangays that do not meet the requirement.

Gomez, on the other hand, said some of the present barangays are so small that it could not even hire barangay tanod among its residents.

The Ormoc City council passed an ordinance last 19 January 2021 to merge 28 villages and rename Barangay 29 to Barangay North Poblacion.

Barangays 1 to 8, 12, 13, 15, 17, 23 and 27 will be merged into one village to be named Barangay South Poblacion; Barangays 9 to 11, 16, 18, 25 and 28 as Barangay East Poblacion; and Barangays 14, 19 to 22, 24 and 26 as Barangay West Poblacion.

Then-mayor Gomez approved the ordinance on 22 June 2021 and the Commission on Elections through Resolution 10796 set the plebiscite.

Ormoc City is a 1st-class independent component city and is administratively independent from Leyte Province.

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