Manila City Council

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Manila City Council
Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Maynila
9th Manila City Council
Type
Type
Term limits
3 terms (9 years)
Leadership
Presiding Officer
Structure
Seats 37 councilors
1 ex officio presiding officer
Political groups
Length of term
3 years
Authority Manila City Charter
Local Government Code of the Philippines
Elections
Plurality-at-large voting
Last election
May 13, 2013
Next election
May 13, 2016
Meeting place
Manila City Hall

The Manila City Council is Manila's Sangguniang Panlungsod or legislature. Composed of 38 councilors, with 36 councilors elected from Manila's six councilor districts (coextensive with the Legislative districts of Manila) and two councilors elected from the ranks of barangay (neighborhood) chairmen and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK; youth councils). The presiding officer of the council is the Vice Mayor, who is elected citywide.

The council is responsible for creating laws and ordinances under Manila's jurisdiction. The mayor can veto proposed bills, but the council can override it with a two-thirds supermajority.

History[edit]

After the Spanish incorporated Manila as a city in 1571, membership to the council was originally restricted to them. In June 24, 1571 (which would later be declared as Manila Day), the municipal government, or the Cabildo was established, consisting of two mayors, twelve councilors and a secretary. The mayor was chosen by lottery, with councilors nominating four candidates, with two candidates being drawn to serve as mayors.[1]

In 1689, the council ordered the expulsion on non-Christian Chinese in the city, leading to a decline in Chinese population by 1700.[2]

This would be the setup until 1901, after the Americans took control of the islands. In that year, the new American insular government instituted a municipal board consisting of a Filipino mayor, a Filipino member, and three American members all nominated by the Americans. An advisory board was included, with all eleven members being Filipinos, representing each of Manila's 11 wards. In 1916, the advisory board was abolished, and the municipal board was increased to ten members, all of them elected by Filipinos, although the mayor was still appointed. In 1949, the Revised City Charter modified the board's composition: now, the five members of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from the city are its members, with the vice mayor becoming its presiding officer. After the declaration of martial law in 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos abolished the board in 1975.[1]

After the People Power Revolution, the municipal board was revived, which gradually evolved into the present-day city council. The 1987 constitution finalized today's setup when it divided the city into six districts, with each district electing six councilors, plus two more councilors from the barangay captains and SK president. Elections to the new city council was in 1988.[1]

After actress Claire Danes stated in an interview with Premiere that Manila "smelled of cockroaches, with rats all over and that there is no sewerage system and the people do not have anything, no arms, no legs, no eyes," Councilor Kim Atienza sponsored a resolution banning all of Danes' films in the city. While Atienza said that Danes' earlier interview with Vogue where she said that "ghastly and weird city" were forgivable, her statements in Premiere were "irresponsible sweeping statements." After the council approved the measure on a 23–3 vote on 1998, Councilor Julio Logarta, one of the dissenters, said that ban curtailed freedom of expression, and questioned the council's authority to ban film screenings.[3]

In 2006, the council banned the screening of the film The Da Vinci Code in the city.[4] In a unanimous resolution allowing Mayor Lito Atienza to prohibit screenings, the resolution cited the constitution's freedom of exercise of religion, and the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines which states that it is a crime to exhibit films which offend a religion. Councilor Benjamin Asilo also cited an earlier ordinance which "prohibits the showing of obscene and immoral movies, including those that are contrary to morals, good customs, religious beliefs, principles or doctrines."[4]

In July 2012, the city is on track on following neighboring cities in Metro Manila by passing an ordinance on second reading banning the use of plastics and polystyrene. The proposed ordinance aims to prevent perennial flooding in the city, and to reduce debris flowing to the Pasig River.[5]

In the ongoing controversy on the status of the Pandacan Oil Depot, the council on September 2012 overrode Mayor Alfredo Lim's veto. This meant the oil depots would have to ((be)) transferred by 2016.[6]

Seat[edit]

The council sits at the Manila City Hall. Starting in 2012, its session hall is powered via solar panels, which were made in Taiwan. In its inauguration, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno remarked that "The City of Manila will be the first to use this kind of technology here in the Philippines."[7]

The Spanish-era cabildo met at the Ayuntamiento in Intramuros.

Membership[edit]

Each of Manila's six councilor districts elects six councilors to the council. In plurality-at-large voting, a voter may vote up to six candidates, with the candidates having the six highest number of votes being elected. In addition, the barangay chairmen and the SK chairmen throughout the city elect amongst themselves their representatives to the council. Hence, there are 38 councilors.

City council elections are synchronized with other elections in the country. Elections are held every first Monday of May every third year since 1992.

Current members[edit]

As the presiding officer, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno (Nacionalista Party in 2010, now with the United Nationalist Alliance), can only vote to break ties.

The parties as stated in the 2013 elections.[8]

Prominent councilors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The City Council of Manila". Manila Standard. 2002-06-24. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  2. ^ Donald F. Lach, Edwin J. Van Kley (1998). Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume III: A Century of Advance. Book 3: Southeast Asia. University of Chicago Press. p. 1531. 
  3. ^ "Manila Bans Claire Danes' Movies". Associated Press. 1998-09-29. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Manila city council bans showing of 'Da Vinci Code'". GMA News Online. 2006-05-18. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  5. ^ Santos, Pat C. (2012-07-10). "Manila to ban plastic, polystyrene". The Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  6. ^ Sauler, Erika (2012-09-13). "Manila City council overrides Lim’s veto of ordinance vs oil depots". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  7. ^ Leonard D. Postrado and John Carlo M. Cahinhin (2012-01-10). "Manila opens solar-powered Session Hall". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  8. ^ "City of Manila [Councilors]". Manila.gov.ph. Retrieved 2012-12-13.