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AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LOCAL CIVIL GOVERNMENTS IN THE TOWNSHIPS OF THE PROVINCE OF BENGUET.
By authority of the President of the United States, be it enacted by the United States Philippine Commission, that:SECTION 1. Whereas the inhabitants of the Province of Benguet are at present almost entirely Igorrotes, and a large amount of control and direction by officers appointed by the Insular Government is deemed best suited to present conditions there, the following simple form of municipal government is adopted, to remain in force until such time as the Igorrotes develop greater capacity for self-government, or the civilized population becomes sufficiently numerous to require new and more liberal provisions. This Act shall apply to all the townships of the province, namely: Baguio, Trinidad, Galiano, Itogon, Tublay, Atok, Kapangan, Balakbak, Palina, Ampusungan, Loo, Buguias, Kabayan, Adaoay, Bokod, Daklan, Sablan, Kibungan, and Ambuklao.SEC. 2. Each of these townships shall be divided into barrios. For the purposes of the first election, the barrios as established under Spanish sovereignty shall be recognized; but when local civil government shall have been established in any township, this government shall readjust the division of the township into barrios, definitely fixing the boundaries of these barrios, as provided in section twenty-five. The barrio of the township in which the "tribunal" was formerly situated shall be known as the chief barrio.SEC. 3. All property vested in any pueblo under its former organization shall continue to be vested in the same township after its organization under this Act.SEC. 4. The government of each township established under this Act is hereby vested in a president and a council composed of one representative from each barrio of the township, who shall be designated "councilor."SEC. 5. In addition to the officers provided for in section, four, there shall be in each township a secretary, a constable, a messenger, and such other nonelective officers and employees as the council shall deem necessary and provide for and the provincial governor shall authorize.SEC. 6. The salaries of all officers and employees, whether elective or appointive (except councilors, who shall receive no salary), shall be fixed by the council, subject to the approval of the provincial governor, provided, that no secretary shall receive less than fifteen dollars Mexican per month.SEC. 7. The term of office of the president, secretary, councilors, constable, and messenger shall be for one year, and until their successors shall have been duly chosen: Provided, however, that those first elected shall hold office until the first Monday in January, nineteen hundred and two, and until their successors shall have been duly chosen.SEC. 8. The president and vice-president shall be elected at large by a plurality vote of the duly qualified electors of the township. The councilors shall be elected by a plurality vote of the duly qualified electors of each of the several barrios. The secretary, the constable, and the messenger shall be appointed by the president, by and with the consent of a majority of all the members of the council.SEC. 9. A person elected by the people lo till any municipal office shall not be permitted to decline the same but shall discharge the duties thereof, unless before election he shall claim exemption on the ground: (a) That he has discharged the duties of the same office for two previous terms; or (b) that he is physically disabled. Any person who shall violate the foregoing provision or who shall willfully misrepresent his physical condition in order to secure exemption from holding municipal office shall, "upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, sutler imprisonment for the term of three months.SEC. 10. The electors exercising the privilege of choosing elective officers shall be male persons eighteen or more years of age, who have had a legal residence in the township in which they exercise the suffrage for a period of six months immediately preceding the election, and who are not citizens or subjects of any foreign power.SEC. 11. Each elector shall, before voting, take the following affirmation, which shall be administered by the provincial secretary:
"ELECTOR'S AFFIRMATION."I, __________________, do solemnly affirm that I am a male resident of the township of _____________________, in the Province of Benguet, and shall have resided therein for the period of six months next preceding the next township election; that at the date of said election I shall be eighteen or more years of age; that I am not a citizen or subject of any foreign power; furthermore, that I recognize and accept the supreme authority of the United States of America and will maintain true faith and allegiance thereto; that I will obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees duly promulgated by its authority; and that I impose this obligation voluntarily and without mental reservation or purpose of evasion."
SEC. 12. The following persons shall be disqualified from voting:
- Those who are delinquent in payment of public taxes assessed subsequently to December first, nineteen hundred.
- Those who shall have been deprived of the right to vote by sentence of a court of competent jurisdiction since August thirteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight.
- Insane or feeble-minded persons.
SEC. 13. The first election in each township shall be held in its chief barrio at the time which the provincial governor shall designate, and the officers elected thereat shall immediately enter upon their duties. Subsequent elections shall be held in the chief barrio on the first Tuesday in December of each year, beginning with nineteen hundred and one, and the officers elected thereat shall enter upon the discharge of their duties on the first Monday of the January following.SEC. 14. A president, vice-president, councilor, constable, or messenger shall be a duly qualified elector of the province, and shall have had a legal residence therein for one year prior to the election.SEC. 15. A secretary shall be able to read, write, and speak intelligently the Ilocano and the Spanish or English languages. He need not be a native of the province or a resident therein at the time of his appointment.SEC. 16. In no ease shall there be elected or appointed to a township office ecclesiastics; soldiers in active service; persons receiving salaries from provincial, departmental, or government funds; those who are delinquent in the payment of public taxes assessed after December first, nineteen hundred; or contractors for public works within, the province.SEC. 17. The president shall he the chief executive of the township.
- He shall cause the local ordinances and the orders of the provincial governor to be executed, and shall supervise the discharge of official duties by all subordinates.
- He shall receive, receipt for, and keep in the town house or presidencia all moneys accruing from taxes, license or other fees, and lines.
- He shall pay on the last day of each month the salaries of all regularly appointed local officers and employees, and, upon an order passed by a majority vote of the council and approved by the provincial governor, shall make such other payments as may be thus duly authorized.
- He shall render to the council during the first week of each month a true account of all collections and disbursements made during the preceding month. If said account is approved by the council, a true copy of it shall be forwarded to the provincial governor for his information. Should any member or members of the council disapprove of the account, the reasons for such disapproval shall be indorsed thereon by the secretary, and a true copy of the account with the indorsement thereon shall then be forwarded as above provided.
- He shall be the presiding officer of a court consisting of himself and two councilors to be chosen as hereinafter provided in sec-lion twenty-four. The secretary shall be the recording officer of this court, which shall hear and adjudge alleged violations of local ordinances and, after hearing the accused and his witnesses, shall, upon conviction by a majority vote of its members, impose punishment not exceeding a fine of fifteen dollars Mexican. In case the person f convicted is unable or unwilling to pay this fine, he shall satisfy its amount by labor upon public works within the township at the rate of twenty cents Mexican per day, provided that females shall not be compelled to perform work unsuitable for their sex.
- The president shall receipt for every fine or fee or tax collected by him on official paper, stamped for convenient amounts by the governor of the province and furnished by the governor to the president. The amount stamped on the receipt shall be equal to the amount paid, and the liability of the president shall be determined by the aggregate amounts of the stamps on the official paper furnished to him and not returned.
- This court shall have no jurisdiction in civil cases, except on the application of the interested parties and upon their making an agreement in writing to accept the award of the court, when it may hear and adjudge any case not involving property exceeding in value the sum of two hundred dollars Mexican. The judgment shall be recorded by the secretary and shall be final.
- The members of this court shall receive no compensation for their services.
- Whenever it shall come to the knowledge of the president that a crime or misdemeanor not within the jurisdiction of the court provided for in section seventeen, paragraph five, has been committed within the township, the president shall direct the seizure of the alleged offender, shall make a preliminary investigation into the facts and if the guilt of the prisoner shall appear probable, shall order the arresting officer to proceed immediately with the prisoner and the president's report of his investigation to the governor of the province.
- He shall preside at all meetings of the council; but he shall not vote, except in the case of a tie, when he shall give the casting vote.
- He shall appoint, by and with the consent of a majority of all the members of the council, the secretary, the constable. The messenger and any other nonelective officers or employees, that may be provided for by general law or by duly approved ordinance; and, at anytime, for cause, he may suspend any such officer or employee for a period not exceeding ten days, which suspension may be continued for a longer period by the council; and, by and with the consent of a majority of the council, he may discharge any such officer or employee.
- He shall make all such appointments at the first meeting of the council after his election, except for those offices in which a vacancy may occur during his term. In case the council shall reject any such appointments made by him, he shall submit the names of other persons for appointment at the next regular meeting of the council. In case a vacancy occurs in any of the above-named offices during the term of office of the president, be shall submit; an appointment to the council at the first regular meeting after the occurrence of the vacancy.
SEC. 18. The vice-president shall act as substitute for the president in case of the absence of the latter, or of his temporary inability to discharge the duties of his office. Should a permanent vacancy in the office of president occur, the vice-president, shall fill the post for the unexpired portion of the term, and a new vice-president shall be chosen by a majority vote of all the members of the council.SEC. 19. 1. The secretary shall be the recording officer of the court provided for in section seventeen, paragraph five, and shall make and keep a record of all its proceedings and findings.
- He shall be the clerk of the council, whose meetings it shall be his duty to attend. He shall, make and keep a journal of all proceedings and acts of the council.
- He shall keep a civil register for the township and shall record therein all births, marriages, and deaths, with their respective dates. Marriages celebrated in accordance with Igorrote customs shall be registered, but it is not hereby intended to change existing law as to lawful marriages.
- He shall issue a true copy of any single record in the civil register upon application and the presentation by the applicant of official stamped paper bearing stamps to the value of five cents, Mexican, on which the copy of the record shall be inscribed. Stamped paper to be used for such records shall be purchased from the president, who shall be supplied with it for this purpose by the provincial governor.
- He shall read all communications and orders from the provincial governor to the president and the council at its next regular meeting after they are received, unless the matter treated of be urgent, in which case he shall lay the facts before the president and request him to call a special meeting of the council, at which the communication shall be read.
- Upon the request of the president, he shall prepare at his dictation and for his signature any official communications which the president may desire to send, or any documents or reports which the president is required to furnish. The secretary shall also prepare for the signature of the president receipts for ail taxes, license fees, and fines paid in.
- During the first week of every month he shall forward to the provincial governor true copies of all records made and receipts pro-pared by him during the preceding month.
- He shall each year prepare a list of the persons from whom taxes are due, as provided in section thirty-four.
- On or before the thirty-first of December of each year, he shall prepare a list of the inhabitants of the township, grouping them by barrios and families. This list shall give the name, sex, and approximate age of each person, the amount of taxes paid by him during the current year, and such other details as the provincial governor shall direct. The fact that a man's name has been entered on this list as an inhabitant of a given township shall not restrict his right to transfer his residence to another township.
- He shall forward to the provincial secretary, on or before the fifteenth of January of each year, a complete copy of the entries in the civil register for the township during the year ending on the preceding thirty-first of December, and a true copy of the list provided for in paragraph nine for the same year, and shall certify the same as true copies of the original records in his office.
- He shall perform all such other duties as may be imposed by general legislation, or by the direction of the provincial governor, communicated through the president of the township.
SEC. 20. The constable shall wear, as an outward sign of his office, a metal badge, on which shall be stamped the word "constable," and the name of the township in which he holds office. He shall be charged with the duty of maintaining public order and shall have power to call on all law-abiding citizens for assistance to this end. He shall be empowered to make arrests in criminal cases, and shall perform such other duties as may be imposed by general legislation, or by direction of the provincial governor, communicated through the president of the township.SEC. 21. The messenger shall be charged with the duty of carrying to adjacent townships such communications and other matter as may be intrusted to him for this purpose by the president; and with such other duties as the council may impose by duly approved ordinance.SEC. 22. There shall be a regular meeting of the council on Saturday of every week. Special meetings may be called by the president, or by any two members of the council, by giving verbal notice to each of the councilors.SEC. 23. A majority of the council shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absentees, under such penalties as may be prescribed by duly approved ordinance, or by order of the provincial governor.SEC. 24. At the first regular meeting after the election of a new president the council shall pass on his appointments to nonelective offices and shall choose, by a majority vote of all its members, two of the councilors to serve with the president as members of the court provided for in section seventeen, paragraph five.SEC. 25. At the earliest practicable date, the council shall definitely fix the limits of the barrios of the township, prescribing for them such boundaries that the barrios taken collectively shall include the entire territory of the township.SEC. 26. 1. Each councilor shall inform the people of his barrio as to the acts of the council and as to governmental measures which directly concern them. He shall serve in the council as Hie representative of the people of his barrio and shall bring then especial needs to the attention of that body.2. He shall promptly inform the president of any unusual or untoward event occurring in his barrio. He shall notify the people of his barrio of the days on which they should present themselves before the president to pay taxes, and shall himself be present on such occasions to identify them.SEC. 27. The council shall, by a majority vote of all its members:
- Fix the salaries of all duly authorized employees, subject to the limitations expressed in section six.
- Fill a permanent vacancy in the office of vice-president or of councilor from among persons having the necessary qualifications. A person thus substituted as vice-president or councilor shall serve only for the unexpired portion of the term for which his predecessor was elected and until his successor shall have been chosen.
- Make appropriations for lawful and necessary expenditures, subject to the approval of the provincial governor.
- Manage the property of the township.
- Erect all needful buildings for the use of the township.
- Provide for the construction and care of the trails and bridges in the chief barrio of the township, and of those necessary to connect it with the several outlying barrios.
- Provide regulations for the sanitation of the township, and order the removal of nuisances and causes of disease.
- Regulate the running at large of domestic animals.
- Adopt such measures to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases as may from time to time be necessary.
- Prohibit gambling, cockfighting, opium smoking or the sale of opium for smoking.
- Provide for the taxation of the retail sale, in quantities of less than five gallons, of any intoxicating, fermented, malt, or vinous liquors, except the native beverage made from rice and known as "tapuy," and impose such other license fees as may be authorized by general law.
SEC. 28. The council may, by a majority vote of nil its members:
- Order the suspension or removal at any time, for cause, of any nonelective officer or employee.
- Make such provisions for the care of the poor, the sick, or of orphans as it may deem necessary.
- Provide for the establishment and maintenance of schools for primary instruction.
- Construct and maintain waterworks for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of the township with water; and provide for the equitable distribution and use of water for purposes of irrigation within the township.
- Make such ordinances and regulations, not contrary to law, as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Act, and such as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the township and the inhabitants thereof and for the protection of the property therein.
SEC. 29. Until a time to be hereafter determined by the Insular Government, when the councils of the townships in the Province of Benguet shall have gained sufficient knowledge and experience properly to exercise, without intervention, the powers herein conferred, all ordinances and rules passed by them shall be subject to the approval of the provincial governor, and without such approval shall be invalid. Should any township council prove unfit to exercise the powers herein conferred or should it fail to exercise them, the provincial governor shall adopt suitable measures for the carrying out of the provisions of this Act.SEC. 30. Every person eighteen or more years of age who owns property in the province, or who has within his control any owner of property in the province who is less than eighteen years of age shall appear before the president of the township in which such property has between the first and fifteenth days of January, nineteen hundred and one, and of each year thereafter, and shall declare the value of his property and the value of that of any property owner less than eighteen years of age who is within his control: Provided, That, if it shall be inconvenient or impossible for him to appear before the president, he shall make a sworn declaration in writing as to the value of such property and shall cause this statement to be delivered to the president between the dates above fixed. His declaration shall be accepted as true, unless the provincial inspector or some other resident of the province shall question its correctness and bring the matter to the attention of the provincial governor, in which case the provincial governor, the provincial secretary, and the president of the township in which the property lies shall form a board of assessors to determine its value. This board shall be empowered to call and examine witnesses, and. after giving the owner and his witnesses, if any, opportunity to he heard, shall fix the value of the property alleged to be incorrectly valued. Its decisions shall be final.SEC. 31. Any property owner who fails to declare the value of his property within the period fixed in section thirty, or that of the property of any resident of the province less than eighteen years of age within his control, as provided in section thirty, shall immediately be warned by the councilor of his barrio that, unless he makes his declaration before the thirty-first of January, he will he subject to a fine of five dollars Mexican; and, should he fail to make the declaration within the period specified, the fine shall be adjudged against him by the court provided for in section seventeen, paragraph five, and shall be collected by the president, or, in lieu of the payment thereof, he shall be compelled to work it out on public works within the township at the rate of twenty cents Mexican per day. In the event of his not making his declaration before January thirty-first, the value of his property shall be fixed by the board of assessors provided for in section thirty.SEC. 32. Every resident of the province who does not own real or personal property to the total value of two hundred dollars Mexican shall be excused from the payment of any property tax; but, if such resident is a male and eighteen or more years of age, he shall, in lieu thereof, pay an annual tax of one dollar Mexican.SEC. 33. Every resident of the province who is the owner of real or personal property to the value of more than two hundred dollars Mexican shall pay as an annual property tax an amount equal to one-half of one per cent of the value of such property.SEC. 34. On the basis of the declarations made and of the findings of the board of assessors, if any, the secretary shall prepare, on or before February fifteenth of each year, a list of the persons from whom a tax is due, with the amount of such tax due from each of them. This list shall be kept open to public inspection in his office. All persons from whom a property tax is due shall be notified by the councilors of their respective barrios to appear before the secretary and learn the amount of such tax, which shall be stated to them verbally by the secretary if they can not read.SEC. 35. Taxes may be paid between February fifteenth and July thirty-first of each year, on a day or days during each month to be fixed by the provincial governor.SEC. 36. All persons who have not paid their taxes in full on or before the thirty-first of July of each year shall be deemed delinquent taxpayers, after such delinquency shall have been adjudged, upon due notice to the alleged delinquent, by the court provided for in section seventeen, paragraph five. If any taxpayer shall fail to pay the delinquent taxes adjudged against him within twenty-tour hours after judgment, he shall be made to satisfy the amount due by labor upon public works within the township at the rate of twenty cents Mexican per day, either performing such work in person or providing a substitute to perform it: Provided, That at any time after he or his substitute shall have begun work he may secure release from obligation to work by payment of the amount of the tax originally due in full.SEC. 37. Compelling the inhabitants of the Province of Benguet to render involuntary service as "polistas," or in any other capacity, is absolutely prohibited, except for the satisfaction of unpaid taxes, license fees, or fines, as hereinbefore provided.SEC. 38. Any person violating the provisions of section thirty-seven shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished for each offense by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars Mexican, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.SEC. 39. On the first day of January of each year, the newly elected presidents shall assemble at the capital of the province to meet and confer with the provincial governor. At this time they shall have the right to elect a popular representative for the province who shall be chosen by a majority vote of all the presidents present, and who may, or may not be a resident of the province. The presidents shall also assemble at the capital on the fourth day of July of each year to meet and confer with the provincial governor.SEC. 40. If the people of the province shall at any time feel themselves to be seriously aggrieved, and shall be unable to obtain relief from the provincial governor, it shall be the duty of the popular representative, either in person or by written communication, to lay their case directly before the Chief Executive of the Insular Government. All official communications from the popular representative to the Chief Executive shall be promptly transmitted by the government officials through whose hands they may pass. Should the popular representative desire to visit Manila, on official business, his journey shall be facilitated by all government officials with whom he may come in contact. He shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest at any time when arrest will interfere with discharging the duties of his office and for any communication or statement which he may make to the Chief Executive he shall not be held to account by any official, whether civil or military.SEC. 41. Under no circumstances shall the traveling or other expenses of the popular representative, or any compensation to him, form a charge on the treasuries of the townships or any one of them or on the provincial treasury.SEC. 42. Should any dispute arise as to the boundaries of townships, the provincial governor shall hear the persons interested and shall decide the matter in dispute. His decision shall be final.SEC. 43. Until the present military government shall be replaced by a civil central government of these Islands, or until the Commission shall otherwise enact, the Military Governor shall determine what, if any, police force shall be created in the townships of Benguet, in addition to the constables provided for in section seventeen paragraph eleven, and in section twenty. He shall also determine what anus constables, police, other officers or inhabitants of the townships shall be allowed to carry or to have in their possession. In case the Military Governor shall deem it necessary, the police force of any township shall be directly subject to the orders of the Military Governor or his authorized subordinates.SEC. 44. The provincial governor shall have the power to suspend any township official charged with misconduct in office or disloyalty to the United States, and after proper notice and hearing, to remove or reinstate him. Such suspension, removal, or reinstatement shall be reported to the Commission, who may approve or revoke the same. The Military Governor may suspend any township official for disloyalty to the United States, and shall report his action to the Commission, who, after hearing the charge on which the suspension was made, shall remove or reinstate such official.SEC. 45. This Act shall take effect upon the establishment of civil government in the Province of Benguet.Enacted, November 22, 1900.
Source: Supreme Court E-Library