EVERY CITIZEN IS A LAWMAKER | How can an ordinary Filipino citizen propose and amend an ordinance? RA 7160 explains

Chapter II Republic Act 7160 or The Local Government Code of 1991 defines local initiative as "the legal process whereby the registered voters of a local government unit may directly propose, enact, or amend any ordinance."

The power of local initiative and referendum may be exercised by all registered voters of the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays.

THE PROCEDURE. Under Section 122 of the same law, the following minimum number of petitioners are needed:

* at least one thousand (1,000) registered voters, for provincial and city ordinances     
* at least one hundred (100) registered voters, for municipal ordinances     
* at least fifty (50) registered voters, for barangay ordinances

The process begins with the filing of a written petition, proposing the adoption, repeal, or amendment of an ordinance with the local sanggunian (council) concerned.

Section 8 of Republic Act 9485 or The Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 mandates the all officers and employees to accept the documents. It also provides that submitted documents shall be acted upon by the assigned official not longer than ten (10) days from receipt.

If no favorable action thereon is taken by the sanggunian concerned within thirty (30) days from its presentation, the proponents, through their duly authorized and registered representatives, may invoke their power of initiative, giving notice thereof to the sanggunian concerned.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), through the local election officer, is mandated to extend assistance in the formulation of the proposition.

The proponents have the following time periods, from the notice of initiative, to collect the required number of signatures:

* 90 days, for provincial and city ordinances     
* 60 days, for municipal ordinances     
* 30 days, for barangay ordinances

The following minimum number of signatures are needed:

* at least 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each legislative district is represented, for provincial and city ordinances, where the province or city has more than one legislative district     
* at 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each municipality in the province is represented, for provincial ordinances, where the province has only one legislative district     
* at least 10% of all registered voters, where at least 3% of each barangay in the city or municipality is represented, for city and municipal ordinances     
* at least 10% of all registered voters, for barangay ordinances

The petition shall be signed before the election registrar, or his designated representatives, in the presence of a representative of the proponent, and a representative of the sanggunian concerned in a public place in the local government unit.

The local COMELEC official then certifies the result. Failure to obtain the required number defeats the proposition.

If the required minimum number of signatures is met, the COMELEC then sets a voting date, where the proposition is put to a general vote:

* 60 days hence (for provincial and city ordinances)     
* 45 days hence (for municipality ordinances)     
* 30 days hence (for barangay ordinances)

If the proposition is approved by a majority of the votes cast, it shall take effect fifteen (15) days after certification by the COMELEC. If it fails to obtain said number of votes, the proposition is considered defeated.

The power of local initiative shall not be exercised more than once a year.

Initiative shall extend only to subjects or matters which are within the legal powers of the sanggunian to enact.

If the sanggunian concerned adopts in toto the proposition in toto presented and the local chief executive approves the same, the initiative is cancelled, however, those against that action may continue with the initiative process as provided by the Local Government Code.

Any proposition approved through initiative cannot be repealed, modified, or amended by the sanggunian concerned within 6 months from the date of approval (18 months, for barangays). After this prescriptive period, the proposition approved through initiative can only be repealed, amended, or modified by the sanggunian concerned by a vote of 3/4ths of all its members.

Be the change you want in your community. Sustain every initiative.

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Author: Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo

Student| Youth Advocate | Leader | Environmental Advocate | Writer | Blogger | RH Advocate

I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious. — Albert Einstein
I write about darkness because I want to show the light — Jose Rizal

Paul is an Accountancy graduate from the Northwestern University. He works for VoicePoints. He was the former College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Ilocos Chairperson. He likes discussing tax issues. He was one of the finalists of the PWC Cup (Taxation and Payroll Accounting)

He has been involved in different advocacy and defending human rights. As a blogger, writer, netizen and an advocate, he has found focus & interest on sexuality & reproductive health, deaf rights & legal access and youth development, leadership, environment advocacy, issues in the nation and in the world, religion, culture and human rights At the age of 14, he has fully embraced the call of leadership.

He was a Lussoc National High School 'The Sring' and 'Ang Batis' news editor. A radical visionary leader, he has led organizations of the Supreme Student Government, Science Club, Youth for Environment in Schools Organization, Interact Club, Math Club, Philippine National Red Cross and other organizations in their institution. He was also awarded as a distinguished student leader as a former officer of the Supreme Student Government and received President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Campus Journalism Award. He attended two National Leadership Training for the Student Government Officers, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Youth for Environment Summer Camp, Science Leaders Congress and Schools Press Conference. Joined and won in the several contests from their school to the national level.

He is an organist and an officer of the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo).

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