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Bulacan voters reject San Jose del Monte's conversion into highly urbanized city

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 1) – Voters in Bulacan rejected the proposal to convert San Jose del Monte (SJDM) into a highly urbanized city, with 820,385 residents saying no to the move, results from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed Wednesday.

Those not in favor outnumbered the 620,707 residents who supported the conversion during the plebiscite on Monday, Comelec data showed. A total of 1,608,004 residents voted.

According to the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, a highly urbanized city should have a minimum population of 200,000 and an annual income of at least ₱50 million.

The SJDM's population in 2020 was 649,918. The city government also cited its records saying that SJDM's income in 2022 was ₱684.97 million.

Twenty three mayors in the province of Bulacan and a group of young legislators earlier showed support for the city's conversion.

READ: Young Bulacan legislators back San Jose del Monte's conversion into

A highly urbanized city status grants the local government of SJDM autonomy from the provincial government of Bulacan, the LGC stated.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando expressed his objection to converting SJDM into a highly urbanized city.

«Walang ama na magiging masaya kapag nawalay ang anak,» Fernando said in a Facebook post.

[Translation: No father would be happy to be separated from his child.]

Former Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said converting SJDM could also mean imposing higher taxes and having fewer job opportunities in the city.