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CHAPTER XIII

THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS

The Municipalities.-A "municipality" is a town with a government organized under the provisions of the Municipal Code. Such municipalities are found only in the Christian provinces. They have a much larger measure of self-government than the townships of non-Christian provinces.

The difference between a municipality and an unorganized town is that the municipality is a corporation, or body, that is, it resembles a person in that it may own property, make contracts, and sue or be sued in courts of law. To incorporate a town means to give it a personality in the eyes of the law.

Importance of Municipal Government.-A full knowledge of the government of the municipalities is indispensable to every citizen of the Philippines. The average citizen has little to do with the insular or the provincial governments. He is governed and protected by the insular and provincial laws, but in his daily life he is not often in contact with insular and provincial officers. Every one, however, is under the immediate direction of the municipal officers. On the good government of his municipality depend his daily peace, health, safety, of person and property, and the preservation of many other rights and privileges. Every citizen is familiar with the needs of his own municipality; every elector has a direct share in the selection of municipal officers, and many of the electors will at some time serve as municipal officers

or employees. It is upon the success of the selfgoverning Christian municipalities that the future. Filipino independent state depends. Unless these municipalities are governed honestly and capably there is no hope that the provincial and insular governments will be conducted efficiently by the citizens of the Philippines. The highest patriotism demands that every citizen study and participate in the government of his own municipality.

Classification and Division of Municipalities. There are four classes of municipalities, classified according to population. First class municipalities are those with 25,000, or more inhabitants; second class, those with 18.000 to 25,000 inhabitants; third class, those with 10,000 to 18,000 inhabitants; fourth class, those with less than 10,000 inhabitants.

The city of Manila is not included in this classification. Its government will be described later.

Each municipality has a number of councilors proportioned to its size. Those of the first class have eighteen councilors; of the second, fourteen; of the third, ten; and of the fourth, eight.

The municipalities are divided into barrios, or wards. When there are many barrios they are sometimes grouped into districts. On Oct. 1, 1907, there were 685 municipalities in the Philippines, and thousands of barrios. The seat of government of the municipality is the poblacion, or center of the town.

Municipal Officers.-The officers of the municipality are a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer, and councilors. Not every elector may be elected to municipal office; for higher qualifications are necessary to be a public officer than merely an

elector. Those who may be elected to municipal office must have the qualifications already named in Chapter XI. It should further be noted that a second reelection to municipal office is prohibited, except after two years absence from office; also that no municipal officer is permitted to have any financial interest in any contract work, cockpit, or other business permitted or controlled by the municipality.

Certain classes of persons, besides those mentioned in Chap. XI, are excluded from holding municipal office, even tho they possess the required qualifications. Such are ecclesiastics (church officials), soldiers in active service, persons receiving pay from other branches of the Philippine government, and contractors for public works of the municipality. The reason for excluding such persons from municipal office is because there is danger that their interests as members of private corporation, or of other branches of the government service, may conflict with their duties. as municipal officers. In the case of contractors the object is to prevent the contractor from influencing the council to vote an excessive sum of money for public works constructed by the contractor.

The Oath of Office.-Every municipal officer, before entering upon the duties of his office, must take the following oath of office.

"I

OATH OF OFFICE
having been

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in the province of do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have the prescribed qualifications to hold office in said municipality; 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 promulgated by its duly constituted

authorities; that I impose upon myself this obligation voluntarily without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God. (Last four words to be stricken out in case of affirmation.)"

This oath must be filed in the office of the municipal secretary.

Bonded Officers.-Every municipal officer entrusted with funds of the municipality must give a bond for the faithful performance of his duties and the payment of all moneys received by him as an officer of the municipality. This bond is a written promise on the part of two or more persons to pay a certain sum of money in case the officer is faithless to his duty. The amount of the bond is equal to half the amount of the total sum of money which it is estimated will pass thru the hands of the officer during the current year.

Executive Duties of the President.-The president is the chief executive officer of the municipality. Besides his duty as executive he is chairman of the council, which enacts the ordinances of the municipality. Of his legislative power in this capacity mention will be made later.

As chief executive the president must inspect the records and supervise the work of all the other officers of the community. The president issues orders to the police, and takes special steps for the protection of the community in time of fire, flood, or other disaster. He draws warrants on the municipal treasurer for the payment of the expenses of the municipality, as ordered by the council, and he assists the provincial treasurer in the collection of taxes. His duties are thus many and varied.

It should be remembered that the president must exercise his power within the limitations imposed upon him by the laws. A great defect in the administration of many municipalities has been the tendency of some presidents to act like little kings, instead of agents of the law and representatives of the people. The citizens should guard against these abuses of the president's power. If the citizens have not the courage to do this the municipalities will not be properly governed.

Appointing Power of the President. The president has the power to appoint, with the consent of a majority of the members of the council, the municipal secretary, and all other non-elective officers and employees of the municipality. He must nominate these officers and employees at the first meeting of the council after his election. The term of office of such officers and employees is during the remainder of the president's term of office. The municipal treasurer and the employees of his office are not appointed by the president, but by the provincial treasurer, with the consent of the provincial board.

The president has the power to suspend for good reason any of the appointive officers or employees for a period of ten days, and, with the consent of a majority of the members the council, he may discharge any such officer or employee.

The president makes out an annual report in December of each year, in which he recounts all events of importance that have happened in the municipality during the year. This report is submitted to the municipal council and to the provincial governor.

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