Naming Public Places

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The birth of a person is registered with the Civil Register of the municipality or city where he was born. Contained in the certificate of live birth are the date, place of birth, name or parents and the name for which the person registered will use. Changing the name of a person once registered may only be done through court action or petition filed with the civil registrar in proper cases. When it comes to naming places however, the process is somewhat different. Places are not named willy-nilly but historical, cultural, and other related factors must be considered and a process for it is stated in our laws. Below, the naming of public places under the jurisdiction of local government units will be discussed.

Naming of Places

The Local Government Code particularly Chapter II tackles the creation and naming of local government units. Congress creates, divides, merges, or abolishes local government units. Through proper legislation the newly created unit is given a name for which it will be known. The proper sangguniang panlalawigan or panlungsod through an ordinance can create, merge, divide, or abolish barangays within their territorial jurisdiction. After the local government units are created, their names can be changed without the need for a law to be passed by congress. The power to change the name of public places within the jurisdiction of local government units is vested with the sanggunian. The Local Government Code Section 13 of Chapter II requires that the Philippine Historical Commission (PHC) should be consulted if public places will be renamed. This ensures that the change of name will not disregard the historical and cultural value of both the original or the new one. In changing the names of component cities or municipalities, their respective sanggunians shall recommend the change of name to the proper sangguniang panlalawigan. In cases of barangays, their sanggunians will have to make a recommendation before the proper sangguniang bayan will enact an ordinance for the change of name. This will ensure that the affected unit approves of the change. For local government units, the change of name will only be effective upon a ratification by the unit affected through a plebiscite.

The sangguniang panlalawigan (almost the same is true with those of highly urbanised and independent component cities) may also change the name of the following within its territorial jurisdiction: Provincial roads, avenues, boulevards, thoroughfares, and bridges; Public vocational or technical schools and other post-secondary and tertiary schools; Provincial hospitals, health centers, and other health facilities; and any other public place or building owned by the provincial government. The sangguniang panlungsod or bayan may also change the names of the following: City, municipal and barangay roads, avenues, boulevards, thoroughfares, and bridges; City and municipal public elementary, secondary and vocational or technical schools, post- secondary and other tertiary schools; City and municipal hospitals, health centers and other health facilities; and any other public place or building owned by the municipal government.

Unless for a justifiable reason, no local government unit or public place or building may be named after a living person and the change should not be oftener than once every 10 years. For those with historical value the change shall only be upon a unanimous vote of the sanggunian concerned and in consultation with the PHC. For schools, the local school board should recommend the change and for hospitals, health centers, and other health facilities, the local health board. It is very important that the offices of the president, representative of the legislative district concerned, and the Philippine Post should be notified of the change of name of the public places mentioned above.

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