By LITO RULONA
IF plans don’t miscarry, Region 10 will have another city.
Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba of Bukidnon’s 1st District said she has counted the support of northern Mindanao’s eight representatives for her bill that seeks to turn her hometown Manolo Fortich into a city.
Manolo Fortich is the first Bukidnon town east of Cagayan de Oro.
If approved, Alba’s proposal, House Bill 8115, would turn Manolo Fortich into the third component city of Bukidnon. Presently, the province has two cities — Malaybalay which is the province’s capital, and Valencia.
The proposal seeks to turn Manolo Fortich into Region 10’s 10th city. Aside from Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay and Valencia, other cities in the region are El Salvador and Gingoog in Misamis Oriental, Iligan, Oroquieta, Ozamiz and Tangub in Misamis Occidental.
Alba authored, and filed the House bill at the the Lower House on Friday.
Other principal co-authors are Reps. Florencio Flores Jr. of the 2nd District of Bukidnon, Manuel Zubiri of the 3rd District of Bukidnon, Juliette Uy of the 2nd District of Misamis Oriental, Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro City, Xavier Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Frederick Siao of Iligan City and Rolando Uy of the 1st District, Cagayan de Oro.
She said Manolo Fortich qualifies, pointing out that it has consistently been one of the most competitive municipalities in the country. She said it was in the list of Top 20 municipalities in 2017 in terms of economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency.
Manolo Fortich ranked 5th for its local economy structure. It ranked first in presence of investment promotion unit and 18th in social protection. It also ranked 1st in availability of basic utilities, land-use plan, disaster risk reduction plan, annual disaster drill, early warning system and local risk assessments.
“Such a feat shows that it is time for the Manolo Fortich to join the ranks of component cities that make up Bukidnon,” Alba said.
“The journey towards the cityhood of Manolo Fortich has begun,” Alba said.
Alba said Manolo Fortich Mayor Clive Quino helped by asking the support of other congressmen.
She said the conversion of Manolo Fortich would enhance its economic, tourism, investment opportunities, and contribute to the development of Bukidnon’s health services, education, transport system, markets, infrastructure, roadways and streets and the general living condition of residents and entrepreneurs.
Located in the northern part of Bukidnon, Manolo Fortich has an area of 506.64 square kilometers, accounting for 6.1 percent of the total land area of the province. The town center is an approximately 40-minute rive from the Cagayan de Oro city proper.