Makati to talk with gov't agencies to keep servicing residents affected by territorial dispute with Taguig

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) — Makati Mayor Abby Binay on Monday said she will talk with national government agencies in a bid to keep on servicing around 300,000 residents affected by the territorial dispute with Taguig City.

"Sa susunod na mga araw, makipag-ugnayan at makikipag-tulungan ang inyong lingkod at ang city government sa mga kaukulang departamento at ahensya ng national government," she said in a video posted on the city's official Facebook page.

"Hahanap kami ng paraan para maipagpatuloy ng Makati ang pagtulong at paglilingkod sa inyo (affected residents)," she added.

[Translation: In the coming days, we will coordinate and seek help from the appropriate departments and agencies in the national government. We will find a way to keep on providing Makati's services to the affected residents.]

Last April, the Supreme Court announced that it resolved with finality declaring the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation (BMR), which includes lifestyle and business district Bonifacio Global City (BGC), as part of Taguig. The resolution was dated Sept. 28, 2022. 

The government of Makati City said this covers 10 residential barangays in its second district with an estimated population of 300,000, namely Barangays Pembo, Comembo, Cembo, South Cembo, West Rembo, East Rembo, Pitogo, Rizal, Northside and Southside.

Makati's legal officer, Don Camiña, earlier said the court decision will have "far-reaching consequences" on the stability of businesses in affected areas.

He added that it "could also prejudice the right to vote and the access to vital services of both Makati and Taguig residents."

The city then filed its second motion for reconsideration to challenge the ruling but the high court refused to entertain it, citing its September 2022 verdict. 

In the video, Binay said their government has yet to receive a copy of the decision but clarified they will respect the Supreme Court's ruling.

Last July 1, the local government of Taguig asked Makati City for a "coordinated and orderly transition" of affected villages, assuring it is prepared to "take on the responsibility of governing your communities." 

But Binay is adamant that the Taguig government cannot match the service her city can provide to the locals. She said the city has allocated over ₱9 billion for services for the Makati population in 2022.

"Hindi lahat ng serbisyo at benepisyo na ibinibigay ng Makati ay ibinibigay o kayang tapatan ng Taguig, maging sa dami o sa kalidad," she said.

[Translation: Not all services and benefits given by Makati can be provided or matched by Taguig, in quantity or quality.]

Some of the benefits the residents may lose are in the services for education, health, and cash allowance for the elderly, she said.

Binay said some affected residents are in an "uproar" due to the decision, with others asking if protests should be formed.

"There is an uproar. May mga umiiyak, may mga nagagalit (Many residents are crying and angry). There are people who are asking if they can still (hold a) rally (at the) Supreme Court," the mayor told CNN Philippines' The Final Word.

"What needs to be done is to assure them that Taguig would be able to provide the same benefits that they are receiving in Makati. That is what needs to be heard," she added.

The mayor said Taguig's earlier announcement of giving scholarship grants to senior high school graduates from the affected Makati citizens, amounting to at most ₱50,000 yearly, is impossible.

Binay pointed out that basic guidelines on policies for benefits, such as holding out college scholarships for senior high school Makati graduates due to lack of residential years in Taguig, are vague for the 3,500 students.

Binay told the affected people that even if her hands are tied, the Makati government is ready to serve and help them.

"Handa ako, at ang inyong city government, na tulungan kayo. Saan man kayo mapunta, kayo ay mananatiling mga Makatizen," she said.