Bulacan, San Jose del Monte junk HUC

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CITY OF MALOLOS—With a nearly 200,000 and a more than 5,000 marginal winning “no”votes from 820,385-620,707 and 97,954-92,714 votes, respectively in the province of Bulacan and the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulakenyos junk the move to convert the component city into a Highly-Urbanized City (HUC) in a plebiscite to ratify it during the Monday’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE).  

Provincial Election Supervisor and chairman of the Board of Canvassers Mona Ann Aldana-Campos led the past 1:00 a.m. proclamation of the rejection of the 19 out of 20 towns and one out of four component cities of Bulacan province in the HUC bid of San Jose del Monte with a 199,678 marginal winning votes from 820,385-620,707 “no” and “yes” votes respectively.

Commission on Election (Comelec) Chairman Erwin Garcia who was present earlier before the past 1:00 a.m. proclamation held at the canvassing area inside the Hiyas Pavilion of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention was also briefed of the result of the plebiscite.

The house of City of San Jose del Monte District 2 Councilor Rommel Agapito with the “No to HUC” signs. Photo by Anton Luis Reyes Catindig

“Lost in its own”

Even the people of San Jose del Monte dropped the bid for their place to become an HUC with 5,240 marginal winning “no” votes from 97,954-92,714 votes.

“On the basis of the foregoing, we hereby proclaim that the Conversion of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan into a Highly-urbanized City Pursuant to Proclamation No. 1057 dated December 4, 2020 was rejected and disapproved by the majority of the votes cast in the plebiscite held in the Province of Bulacan on October 30, 2023,” the official result released and signed by Campos and other members of the canvassing board.

Meycauayan and Marilao voted “yes”

“Yes” votes won only in San Jose del Monte’s adjacent town of Marilao with an 8,052 marginal winning “yes” votes through 41,631-33,579 votes and the similar component City of Meycauayan with 34,660 marginal winning “yes” votes through 61,214-26,554 votes.

From the 2,092,248 registered voters in the whole 20 towns and four cities in the province of Bulacan, there was a 1,608,004, or 76. 85 % turn-in of votes.

The no votes constitutes 51% of the 1,608, 004 who casted their votes and the yes votes constitutes 38.6%.

“No” swept the winning votes in Bulakan town with a 13,265 marginal winning votes from 25,113-11,848 votes; Pulilan with a 10,287 marginal winning votes from 28,231-19,944 votes; Guiguinto 7,979 marginal winning votes from 29,029-21,050 votes; San Ildefonso with 10,075 marginal winning votes from 34,447-24,372 votes; Angat with 10,852 marginal winning votes from 21,211-10,359 votes; Bustos with 1,945 marginal winning votes from 18,449-16,504 votes; City of Malolos with 24,079 marginal winning votes from 57,712-33,633 votes; Hagonoy with 23,352 marginal winning votes from 39,773-16,421 votes; San Rafael with 15,467 marginal winning votes from 31,862-16,394 votes; Bocaue with 1,152 marginal winning votes; Pandi with 2,658 marginal winning votes from 34,188-31,530 votes; Sta. Maria town with 18,192 marginal winning votes from 61,285-43,093 votes; Balagtas with 10,270 marginal winning votes from 23,280-13,010 votes; San Miguel with 9,916 marginal winning votes from 41,769-31,853 votes; Calumpit with 14,561 marginal winning votes from 33,025-18,464 votes; Baliwag with 7,480 marginal winning votes from 42,969-35,489 votes; Obando with 1,770 marginal winning votes from 12,190-10,420 votes; Donya Remedios Trinidad (DRT) with 4,284 from 10,337-6,053 votes; Norzagaray with 28,988 marginal winning votes from 42,892-13,904 votes and Plaridel with 10,919 marginal winning votes from 28,658-17,739 votes.

City of San Jose del Monte District 2 Councilor Romeo Agapito who is the sole opposition to the conversion of their city into an HUC thanked his staff and the volunteer residents of San Jose del Monte who all worked hard to explain to the people why they should reject the move.

“We are thankful to God and to all of the San Josensyos and thE whole people of Bulacan for not allowing us to be separated on our own from our mother Bulacan province. We are really not yet ready to become a fully independent city,” the councilor told NEWS CORE in a text message reply on Wednesday morning.

A tarpaulin against the conversion of the City of San Jose del Monte into a Highly-Urbanized City (HUC) posted in the corner of a street in Tabang, Guiguinto during the Oct. 19-28 campaign period for the Oct. 30 plebiscite. Photo by Carmela Reyes-Estrope

Agapito said more than 70% of the 651,813 people of San Jose del Monte who are just ordinary workers in nearby towns of Bulacan and Metro Manila could not afford the high taxes to be collected when they become and HUC.

He said they also would not want to lose their cultural identity as Bulakenyo. According to Agapito, the only more than 20% old tenants or native Bulakenyos in San Jose del Monte may lose their cultural identity if they separate from Bulacan province. He said, it might also be a precedent to other towns and cities in the province.

According to Agapito, San Jose del Monte will also be economically dislocated from Bulacan when the now ongoing construction New Manila International Airport in Bulakan town opens a few years from now including the nearing operation of the North South Commuter Railways (NSCR).

A “no” to HUC group also expressed frustration that job opportunities for fresh graduates from San Jose del Monte to be brought by the said macro development projects will be put in vain if the city is converted into an HUC.

San Jose del Monte branded today as the Rising City is also known as the “Relocation Capital” of the country as relocation of Informal Settlers (IFS) from Metro Manila started in 1968 in Barangay Sapang Palay. Today, San Jose del Monte hosts more than ten huge national government housing projects which bloats its population to more than 650,000 based on the recent 2020 census.

Gov. Daniel Fernando has earlier expressed sadness that one of the cities of the province would want to separate and go on its own. “There is no father who will be happy if one of his children drifts apart. This is painful to me. I always pray for one and united Bulacan,” he said.

Former Governors Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Roberto Pagdanganan also campaigned for “no” as they want to keep Bulacan intact, united and as “One”.  

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