By JUNE S. BLANCO
TAGBILARAN celebrated its 51st foundation anniversary as a city yesterday, Saturday, July 1.
The small budding town attained cityhood on July 1, 1966, chartered by virtue of Republic Act No. 4660.
Since then, the city steadily grew as can be gleaned from, among others, its budget. It started with a mere P600,000 in 1966, to P262,092,983 in 1994.
This prompted Rep. Erico Boyles Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District to push for its cityhood during the first regular session of the tenth Congress.
In his explanatory note in House Bill 2435, Aumentado said from the date of its conversion, the city “began to chart its own destiny and undertook measures to carve its own identity.”
The date has long been remembered by the people as a day of heroism, valor and dignity because its founding was achieved with the sacrifices and aspirations of its people to attain cityhood, he continued.
“The date marks also the awareness of the people of their rich historical and cultural heritage, customs and traditions which they have developed all through these years from dawn of history, to the present, Aumentado observed.
He added that the day has been enshrined in their hearts and celebrated with honor and dignity, the recollection of the historic blood compact between Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the first international treaty of friendship entered into by a local chieftain with a foreign power.
All this considered, the solon said, it is fitting and proper that the people of Tagbilaran City be allowed to commemorate its founding, charter and attainment of its cityhood by declaring July 1 of every year as a non-working special public holiday.
The Aumentado bill was approved as Republic Act No. 8267, signed by then Senate President Ernesto Maceda on November 28, 1995, and then House Speaker Jose de Venecia on November 27. 1996.
Then President Fidel Ramos signed the act on February 20, 1997. Tagbilaran started enjoying the holiday that same year.