Where Parañaque got its name – Palanyag
There are several accounts as to how the City of Parañaque got its name. One such story stated that long ago, at the mouth of what is now known as the Parañaque River, there stood a balete tree that, when viewed from afar, looked like a majestic ship. This earned it the name Palanyag, taken from the term ‘palayag’, which means “point of navigation”. Another version of the story was that, before the Spanish colonizers came to the Philippines, there were some natives who lived close to the Manila Bay whose main livelihood was fishing or paglalayag. On the other hand, the neighboring place from the east called Muntinglupa had rice farmers who were referred to as taga-Palayan. One day, the fishermen and rice farmers had a feast and many got drunk from tuba or fermented coconut wine. One farmer suggested that they should name the whole place Palayan as a sign of cooperation and good will between them. However, a fisherman protested and stated that they should name it Palalayag instead. As a compromise, they agreed to merge these two words and came up with Palalanyag. However, another drunken guest shouted, “Mabuhay ang Palanyag at ang mga taga-Palanyag!” The rest liked this word better and ever since then, the place was called Palanyag. In another story handed down to generations, when the Philippines was conquered by the Spaniards, some soldiers riding a horse-drawn carriage asked to be taken to a certain place. However, the coachman did not understand the Spanish soldier’s pronunciation. When they arrived, one of the soldiers said, “Para aqui, Para aqui” meaning, “Stop here, stop here.” The coachman did not understand and kept going whereas the soldier also repeated his instruction, “Para aqui, Para aqui”. The coachman left the carriage and told the townspeople that, “These Spaniards are repeatedly saying para aniya ake… para aniya ake” to which the townspeople just laughed. The incident circulated and was repeated around for days and the term para aniya ake stuck.
Source: Baybay, D. F. & Marquez-De Guzman, A. (2001). Palanyag to Parañaque: A History. City of Parañaque.
The Local Government
The milestone enactment and implementation of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, have considerably strengthened the position of Parañaque’s City Hall. Pursuant to the Code, the city government may now discharge the functions and responsibilities of central agencies and offices that are now devolved to its administrative scope while striving for self-reliance, in addition to those duties it has previously performed. These powers have allowed City Hall to exercise and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are necessary, appropriate, or incidental to the efficient and effective provision of basic services and facilities needed by the citizenry. Unlike before, local legislation is no longer reviewed by higher authorities except in cases that extremely affect programs of the national government. Aside from this, City Hall is now extending support to local education, police and fire units. Among the functions that have been devolved to the local administration are those concerning agriculture, health, land use, social welfare and development, tourism, the environment, transportation, and communications. Under City Hall, local governance is administered by the township or barangay government.
Parañaque’s local government is headed by the City Mayor, followed by the Vice-Mayor who concurrently serves as the Presiding Officer of the City Council. The two officials, together with the Councilors, serve three-year terms and are allowed a maximum of three consecutive terms in their respective positions. However, they may run for the same office again only after one term of non-incumbency for such functions. The main tasks of the City Mayor are basically administrative in nature as lawmaking is reserved for the City Council under the Vice-Mayor; he has the power to veto local legislation though, but such power may still be deferred by a 2/3 majority vote of the council. In consonance with Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of the Philippines, the City Mayor has the power to (1) Exercise general supervision and control over all programs, projects, services, and activities of the city government, (2) enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the city and in the exercise of the appropriate corporate powers provided for in the said code, implement all approved policies, programs, projects, services and activities of the City, (3) initiate and maximize the generation of resources and revenues, and apply the same to the implementation of development plans, program objectives and priorities, particularly those resources and revenues programmed for city-wide growth, (4) ensure the delivery of basic services and the provision of adequate public facilities, and (5) exercise such other powers that may be prescribed by law or ordinance. All legislations and budget schedules formulated by the township or barangay require the Mayor’s approval upon recommendation of the City Council before such acts may be effective and executory. The Vice-Mayor. Aside from being the council’s presiding officer, the Vice-Mayor may also appoint most of the officials and employees of the City council, assume the office of the City mayor and its powers, duties and functions for the unexpired term of the latter in the event of permanent vacancy, and exercise such powers and perform such other duties and functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinance.
Composing Parañaque’s City Council are the sixteen Councilors representing the two legislative districts of the City, i.e. eight Councilors per district, plus the President of the local Association of Barangay (Township) Councils . It is the City Vice-Mayor who serves as its Presiding Officer, and may only vote to “break the tie” should there be a stalemate during floor deliberations. The council is divided into several committees to which committees council matters are referred prior to floor deliberation. The committees are composed of five council members each, inclusive of the respective committee chairmen and vice-chairmen. Although the council’s powers are basically legislative in nature, they may exercise certain quasi-judicial functions, especially on matters requiring thorough investigation and fact-finding procedures. Legal powers of the City Council. In accordance to the Local Government Code of the Philippines, the City Council may therefore (1) approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city government, (2) generate and maximize the use of resources and revenues for the development plans, program objectives and priorities of the city, with particular attention to industrial development and city-wide growth and progress, (3) enact ordinances granting franchises and authorizing the issuance of permits or licenses, upon such conditions and for such purposes intended to promote the general welfare of the inhabitants of the city, (4) regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in order to promote general welfare, (5) approve ordinances which shall ensure the efficient and effective delivery of basic services and facilities for Parañaque’s citizenry, and (6) exercise such other powers and perform such other duties and functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinance. It is also required of the township or barangay councils to submit their respective legislations and budget schedules to the City Council for the latter’s review and recommendation for the Mayor’s approval.