Act No. 83, The Provincial Government Act

ACT NO. 83
A GENERAL ACT FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

SECTION 1. Whenever the Commission shall enact that a provincial government shall be established in any part of these Islands, describing therein the territory to be included within the jurisdiction of such government the institution, organization, and maintenance of such government, unless otherwise especially provided, shall be in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

SECTION 2. Every provincial government established under this Act shall be a body corporate, with power to sue and be sued, to have and use a corporate seal, to hold property real and personal, to make contracts for labor and material needed in the construction of duly authorized public works, and to incur such other obligations as are expressly authorized by law.

SECTION 3. In every provincial government there shall be a provincial governor, a provincial secretary, a provincial treasurer, a provincial supervisor and a provincial fiscal. No person shall be eligible for any, of these offices who is not either a citizen of the United States, a native of the Philippine Islands or a person who, not being the subject or citizen of any other power or government, may have under and by virtue of the Treaty of Paris, acquired the political rights of a native of the Islands; or who, having taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, shall violate the same; or who shall be in arms against the United States after April first, nineteen hundred and one, or shall give aid and comfort to those so in arms after such date. Non residence in the province shall not render the person elected or appointed to a provincial office ineligible; but during his incumbency he shall reside at the capital of the province. The annual salaries to be received by the above named officer in each province shall be fixed in the Act extending the provisions of this Act to such province.

SECTION 4. The provincial governor shall be selected in the following manner: On the first Monday in February of the year nineteen hundred and two, and of each second year thereafter, the councilors of every duly organized municipality in the province shall meet in joint convention at the capital of the province and there, after selecting a presiding officer and secretary, shall by secret ballot choose a person to be the provincial governor. A majority of those present and entitled to vote shall be necessary to elect. The action of the convention shall be forwarded to the Commission by the secretary of the convention, after being duly certified by the presiding officer of the convention and by the secretary. The Commission shall then confirm the selection of the person named, unless it shall find that he was unfairly elected, that he is ineligible, or that there is reasonable ground to suspect his loyalty. If the Commission shall decline to confirm the person named, the convention shall be reconvened at a time fixed by the Commission, and a second election had. If the appointment at the second election is not confirmed, then the Commission shall appoint the governor. The term of the governor thus elected or appointed shall begin on the first Monday in March and continue for two years thereafter and until his successor shall have been duly selected and qualified. When a provincial government is established before the date fixed for the election herein provided, the Commission shall appoint a governor of the province to hold the office until his successor is selected under this section, and has duly qualified.

SECTION 5. The provincial secretary, the provincial treasurer, the provincial supervisor and the provincial fiscal shall be appointed by the Commission to hold office during its pleasure. With the exception of the provincial fiscal, they shall, after March first, nineteen hundred and two, be selected under the provisions and restrictions of the Civil Service Act. The provincial secretary shall be able to speak and write the Spanish language, and after January first, nineteen hundred and six, the English language also. The provincial supervisor shall be a competent civil engineer and surveyor. The provincial fiscal shall be a regularly admitted member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the Islands, and shall be able to speak and write the Spanish language, and, after January first, nineteen hundred and six, the English language also. Before the provincial treasurer shall qualify, he shall give a bond to the Insular Government for the benefit of whom it may concern with sufficient surety in a penal sum equal to the greatest amount of public funds from all sources which is likely to be in his custody at any one time. The amount of the bond shall be fixed and the sufficiency of the surety or sureties approved by the Commission. The bond shall be conditioned to secure the faithful performance of the duties of office, as now or hereafter prescribed by law, and for the accounting for all public funds coming into his hands as provincial treasurer or into those of his authorized deputies during his incumbency, and in case of his death or removal until the statement of his accounts by the Insular Treasurer. The Insular Treasurer shall exercise general supervision over the offices of all provincial treasurers and whenever he thinks the bond of any provincial treasurer either too small in amount or of insufficient security he shall call the attention of the Commission to the same, which may then require a new or an additional bond. The bonds of the provincial treasurers shall after their approval by the Commission be filed with the Insular Treasurer, who shall record the same in a book to be kept for the purpose, and shall safely keep the same.

SECTION 6. All provincial officers shall, before assuming office, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:

I, ______________, having been ___________ ( appointed or elected as the case may be) to the office of ___________ of the Province of _________________, do hereby solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will well and truly perform all the duties of said office; that I will faithfully account for all moneys coming into my hands as such officer; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Government of the United States; that I take this oath without any mental reservation whatsoever. So help me God." (In case of affirmation the last four words shall be omitted).

The oaths shall be filed in the office of the secretary of the province.

SECTION 7. The provincial governor shall be the chief executive officer of the province. He shall report to the chief executive officer of the Insular Government. He shall see that the laws are faithfully executed by all the officers in the province. He shall receive the judge of First Instance when he enters the province to hold the terms of court therein, and shall provide for his protection and entertainment, charging the reasonable expenses thereof to the provincial treasury, which shall not exceed three dollars a day. Such expenses of entertainment shall not be allowed when the judge of First Instance has his usual place of residence in the capital of the province where the court is held. The governor shall attend the Court of First Instance when in session by himself or deputy as the chief executive officer of the court and province, and shall execute such process as he shall be required to execute by law. Subject to other provisions of law, he shall have control of the local constabulary or police of the various municipalities of the province; and may, when the public interests require, temporarily withdraw from the municipality in which such police or constabulary are organized, a part thereof for use in other pueblos of the province. Upon the filing of charges or upon receiving authentic information of maladministration by any officer of a municipality of the province, he may suspend such officer, and shall immediately forward to the Commission, through the Chief Executive of the Islands, a statement of the grounds for such suspension, together with the evidence upon which he has acted, giving notice of his action to the suspended official. The Commission shall, after hearing and investigation either remove the suspended officer or reinstate him. He shall preside at all meetings of the provincial board hereafter constituted. He shall at least once every six months visit every municipality in the province. While in the municipality, he shall hear all complaints made against the conduct of any of its executive officers and take suitable action thereon, either by dismissing the complaints, by suspending the official and transmitting the charges to the Commission or by directing the provincial fiscal to bring a criminal or civil suit in the public interest against the person complained of, if the charge made involves either civil or criminal liability. Between the first and fifteenth of January of each year, he shall make a report of the conditions of the province for the year ending on the previous thirty-first of December to the Chief Executive of the Insular Government, recommending therein such measures, executive or legislative, as may to him seem best or the betterment of the conditions in the province. Whenever lawless violence or seditious conspiracy and disturbance of the public peace shall occur of so formidable a character as to be beyond the power of the local police of the province to suppress, it shall be the duty of the governor to call upon the chief executive of the Insular Government or the military officer commanding the district in which the province lies to send troops to suppress the disturbance. The Governor shall, through a jailer and guards to be appointed by him, have custody of all prisoners held awaiting trial or duly sentenced to the provincial jail. He shall employ such deputies and assistants in discharging his duties as he may deem necessary, subject to the approval of the board. Their salaries shall be fixed by the governor with like approval. The number and salaries of such employees shall be reported by the governor to the Insular Treasurer at the close of each month, who shall have power to abolish such subordinate offices or reduce salaries so as to secure economy and uniformity of expenditure in provinces of substantially the same population and resources and no increase shall be made in the number of the employees or the amount of the salaries after having been once reduced by the Insular Treasurer before his approval of the proposed increase shall have been obtained. The salaries shall be paid out of the provincial treasury.

SECTION 8. The provincial secretary shall attest all the official acts of the provincial governor under the seal of the province and shall record all those of the governor's acts which are required by law to be recorded. He shall be the custodian of the provincial seal. He shall receive from the provincial governor and file in his office all reports to the provincial governor required by law, and shall index the same, and he shall generally act as custodian of all provincial records and documents. He shall, on demand, furnish certified copies of all public records and documents, for which he may charge as personal compensation, in addition to his regular salary, the amount of ten cents (Mexican) per one hundred words, including the certificate. In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, or the absence of the governor from the province, the secretary shall discharge the duties of the governor during such vacancy or absence or until the vacancy shall be filled as hereinafter provided.

SECTION 9. The provincial treasurer shall be the chief financial officer of the province. He shall in person, or by authorized deputy, supervise the appraisement and assessment of real property in all the municipalities of the province in the manner provided in the Municipal Code. Except where otherwise especially provided, he shall by himself or deputy collect all taxes imposed upon property or persons in the province, either by the municipalities of the province, the provincial government, or the central government of the Islands. It shall be his duty to procure a certified copy of the tax assessment list from each municipality of the province and file the same in his office and to make an alphabetical index thereof, which list and alphabetical index shall be a public record. He shall have the power to appoint as many deputies and clerks in his office as he may deem necessary, after he has obtained the approval of the provincial board and the Treasurer of the Philippine Islands. Such deputies and clerks shall be selected under the provisions of the Civil Service Act. He shall have authority to require a bond from each of his deputies in a penal sum equal to the largest amount of public funds of every kind such deputy is likely to have in his custody at any one time. He shall act as collector of internal revenue for the province, and as such shall report to the Collector of Internal Revenue for the Islands, and shall make such settlements and deposits as are now required by law. He shall be the custodian of the funds of the province, and shall pay no money out of the provincial treasury except upon warrants drawn in accordance with law, which duly endorsed by the payee named therein shall be his voucher for the payment. He shall render an account before the fifth of each month to the provincial board of the transactions of his office for the preceding month and shall include among other things, the amount of cash on hand at the beginning of the month, and the receipts during the month from every source, the payments during the month and on what accounts and the balance of cash on hand at the close of the last day of the month. The provincial board shall examine such accounts and if found correct it shall so certify on the face of the account. The provincial treasurer shall forward one copy of the monthly account to the Insular Treasurer and another to the Auditor of the Islands. He shall prepare and forward to the Insular Treasurer a report of the transactions of his office for each fiscal year ending June thirtieth, with detailed accounts of receipts and expenditures on or before August first, of each year, and shall present one copy of such report to the provincial board and another to the Auditor of the Islands. It shall be the duty of the Insular Treasurer, by himself or deputy, to subject the books, papers, vouchers, and cash of every provincial treasurer to an examination at least once a quarter and the report of the examining officer shall be made in duplicate. One copy shall be filed in the office of the Insular Treasurer, and the other shall be sent by the Insular Treasurer to the provincial board. The provincial treasurer shall deposit with the Insular Treasurer all funds collected by him on account of the Insular Government within thirty days after the collection of the same.

SECTION 10. The provincial supervisor shall have supervision over the construction, repair, and maintenance of the roads, bridges, and ferries of the province, except those within the inhabited portions of the pueblos and barrios thereof. It shall be the duty of the supervisor, by agreement with the president of each municipality in accordance with this section, to fix the territory within which the duty of repairing, constructing, and maintaining roads, bridges, and ferries shall fall upon the municipal government, and that in which that duty shall fall upon the provincial government, and in case of disagreement the issue shall be settled by reference to the provincial board hereinafter constituted, whose decision shall be final. The provincial supervisor shall also have charge of the construction and repair of the public buildings and offices of the provincial government, and be the custodian thereof under direction of the provincial board. All contracts for the construction, repair, and maintenance of buildings, roads, bridges, or ferries shall be let by the provincial supervisor, with the approval of the provincial board, and no payment, partial or final, upon any contract made for such work shall be made except upon the certificate of the supervisor that the same is due. Before a contract is let for work, it shall be the duty of the supervisor to prepare proper plans and specifications and to make an estimate of the cost thereof, and submit the same to the provincial boards hereinafter constituted. It shall be the duty of the supervisor to make monthly reports to the provincial board of the condition of the roads, bridges, and public buildings of the province, and to recommend to it the repairs and new construction which are necessary. The supervisor shall have power subject to the provisions of the Civil Service Act to appoint such permanent assistants, clerks, and employees in his office as may be approved by the provincial board. The number and salaries of such employees shall be reported by the supervisor to the Insular Treasurer, who shall have the same power to abolish any of such offices and reduce salaries of the same as in the case of the employees of the provincial governor. It shall be the duty of the provincial supervisor to see that the roads, bridges, and public buildings of the province are kept in proper repair. All stationery and office supplies of every character shall be purchased by him upon the order of the provincial board for the use of the provincial officers, the Court of First Instance and its officers. He shall keep a property account in which he shall charge the provincial officers with the furniture or other personal property delivered to them and held or used by them for public purposes and shall take receipts for all supplies thus delivered by him.

SECTION 11. The provincial fiscal shall be the attorney and legal adviser of the provincial government and of each of its officers, when called upon, and they may require from him written opinions. He shall represent the provincial government in all suits brought on its behalf or against it in the courts of the province or in the courts of any other province. He shall be the legal adviser of the council and president of each municipality of the province, and shall upon the request of any president or council submit in writing his views upon any question properly arising in the discharge of their public duties. He shall in the courts of the province represent the public in all criminal cases and perform such duties with reference to the institution of all criminal prosecutions as the Code of Criminal Procedure shall require. In cases where the interests of any municipality and of the provincial government are opposed, he shall act on behalf of the provincial government, and the municipality shall be obliged to employ special counsel. The Attorney-General shall represent the provincial government, except as hereinafter provided, in all suits for or against it, which shall come into the Supreme Court; but if he deems it necessary he may authorize the provincial fiscal to assist him in the hearing of the cause before the Supreme Court. In suits by the government of one province against the government of another, the Attorney-General shall take no part, and, the provinces engaged in the litigation shall be represented in the Supreme Court by their respective provincial fiscals. When any criminal case is appealed to the Supreme Court, the provincial fiscal shall forthwith make a report to the Attorney-General, explaining the question of law and fact appearing therein and the conclusions of the court; and if the Attorney-General directs, the provincial fiscal shall appear in such criminal cases in the Supreme Court on appeal. The Attorney-General shall have general supervision of all provincial fiscals, shall prepare rules for their guidance, may require reports from them as to the condition of public business in the courts of their respective provinces and shall make an annual report through the Military Governor to the Commission of the conditions of the public business in litigation throughout the Islands.

SECTION 12. The following officers of the provincial government, to wit: the governor, the treasurer, and the supervisor shall constitute the provincial board. The governor shall be the presiding officer of the board. The provincial secretary shall be the secretary of the board and keep its minutes, but shall not be a member thereof.

SECTION 13. It shall be the duty of the provincial board:

(a) To fix the rate per centum of ad valorem taxation to be imposed upon the real estate for the province for provincial purposes within the limits hereinafter prescribed.

(b) To provide by construction or purchase or renting suitable offices for the provincial officers, and a court house containing a room or rooms suitable for the holding of court and for offices for the court officers and a provincial jail in the municipality fixed by law as the capital of the province.

(c) To furnish a suitable vault or safe to the provincial treasurer in which he shall keep the provincial and other public funds as long as they are in his custody, except as hereinafter provided.

(d) To order, in its discretion, the construction, repair, or maintenance of roads, bridges, and ferries within the portions of the province fixed under section ten of this Act as within its control on the recommendation of the provincial supervisor, and to approve or reject contracts for such construction and repair, and the construction and repair of provincial buildings let by the provincial supervisor.

(e) To agree upon the recommendation of the provincial supervisor with the provincial board of an adjoining province on the terms, within the limitations of law, upon which roads forming the boundary between the two provinces, and bridges and ferries crossing streams forming such boundary shall be constructed, repaired, or maintained under the joint control of the two provincial governments.

(f) To direct, in its discretion, the bringing or defense of suits on behalf of the provincial government and to compromise the same upon the recommendation of the provincial fiscal and the approval of the judge of First Instance for the province.

(g) To order the monthly payment of all salaries provided by law and the payment of all lawfully contracted indebtedness, by directing the issue of warrants upon the provincial treasurer. Every warrant shall be drawn by the governor and countersigned by the secretary, and shall recite the cause and purpose of drawing the same, the date of the resolution of the board authorizing it, and the page of the minutes of the board's proceedings in which it is recorded. Should the provincial treasurer deem any warrant drawn to be for an unlawful or unwarranted purpose, he may suspend payment of the warrant and refer the question to the Treasurer of the Islands, whose decision shall be mandatory upon him.

(h) To authorize the provincial treasurer to deposit so much of the provincial funds as may not be needed in the near future for public use in a bank of deposit of approved standing in the Islands. All interest paid on such deposit shall inure to the benefit of the provincial treasury and no funds shall be deposited in the bank by the treasurer until there shall be spread upon the minutes of the board a resolution reciting and approving the exact terms of the contract of deposit in the bank. The bank shall certify the weekly balances of provincial funds held by it to the provincial governor and to the Treasurer of the Islands.

(i) To levy upon the real estate of the province for provincial purposes, an annual tax of not exceeding three-eighths of one per cent upon the value of the same as assessed in accordance with the Municipal Code. Of the three-eighths thus permitted to be levied, one-eighth of one per cent shall be levied in any event only for the construction and repair of roads and bridges in the province, and even if the board fails to levy the same, the treasurer is required to collect it, and, when collected, it shall be used only for the purpose for which it is levied. The remaining two-eighths of one per cent, or any part thereof, may be levied in the discretion of the board and applied to any purpose authorized by this Act.

(j) To hold regular weekly meetings upon day to be fixed by the board and special meetings upon the call of the governor. The meetings of the board shall be open to the public.

(k) To provide for the appointment of other subordinate employees under the various provincial officers and to fix their salaries, but such order of the board shall not have effect until notice thereof shall have been given to the Treasurer of the Islands and it shall receive his approval.

(l) To adopt rules regulating the hours of employment of the subordinates in the various provincial offices.

(m) To provide a seal for the province.

SECTION 14. No contract for construction of a road, bridge, or of a public building shall be entered into until the provincial treasurer shall certify that there is in the provincial treasury a sum sufficient to meet the estimated cost of the construction of the improvement which may be lawfully devoted to such purpose; and after such certificate shall be made and filed and the contract entered into, the provincial treasurer shall treat the sum thus certified as not subject to warrant except to meet the obligations of the contract.

SECTION 15. All work of repair, construction, or equipment of roads or buildings involving a greater cost than five hundred dollars in money of the United States shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder, after ten days' public notice of the letting by advertisement in a paper of general circulation in the province, or, if there is no such paper, by a notice posted for ten days at the main entrance to the supervisor's office in the capital of the province. If the provincial board shall regard the contract to be let and the work to be done of sufficient magnitude, it may authorize the supervisor, in addition to giving the public notices above required, to advertise for bids in a newspaper published in the city of Manila. The supervisor is authorized to reject any or all bids, and if the bids are too high, he may recommend to the board that he be allowed to purchase the material and hire the labor and himself supervise the work and the board may then authorize such a course.

SECTION 16. In the supervision which the Insular Treasurer is hereinbefore enjoined to exercise over the provincial treasurers, he shall prepare printed rules for their guidance and shall prescribe the method in detail for the keeping of their books, the forms of receipts to be given by them for taxes and other money coming into their hands, and the forms of monthly, annual and other reports to be made by them. The books, accounts, papers and cash of provincial treasurers shall be at all times open to the inspection of the Insular Treasurer or the Auditor of the Islands or the duly authorized agent of either. The accounts and offices of each provincial treasurer shall be audited at least once a year by the Auditor for the Islands or his duly authorized agent. In case an examination by either the Insular Treasurer, the Auditor for the Islands, or the duly authorized agent of either shall disclose a defalcation of the provincial treasurer, it shall be the duty of the examining officer, not being the Insular Treasurer, forthwith to notify the Insular Treasurer, who shall by himself or deputy at once seize the office, the books, papers, vouchers, and cash of such provincial treasurer and hold the same until the amount due from him shall be exactly determined by examination and a correct account stated. Upon the seizure, the sureties of the defaulting officer shall be notified forthwith by the Insular Treasurer. Suit shall be brought at once by the provincial fiscal to recover the amount due upon the official bond of the defaulting officer, and in such suit the account stated by the Insular Treasurer shall be prima facie evidence of the amount of indebtedness on the bond. Criminal proceedings shall also at once be instituted against the defaulting officer.

SECTION 17. The taxes levied by order of the provincial board shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner as taxes levied for municipal purposes in accordance with the Municipal Code, and the same procedure for appeals from the board of municipal assessment to the board of tax appeals shall be open to a taxpayer, who disputes the legality of the provincial taxes, as is afforded by the Municipal Code in respect to the municipal taxes. All the provisions of the Municipal Code for the assessment of the value of taxable property, for the enforcement of the collection of taxes and the sale of property for delinquent taxes, together with the redemption of land so sold, and the remedies therein provided for alleged unjust taxes, shall apply to the collection and enforcement of provincial taxes, including the provision for penalties, and the municipal and provincial taxes may be collected in one legal proceeding in the name of the provincial treasurer for the use of the municipality and the province.

SECTION 18. Until March first, nineteen hundred and two, of the taxes collected under the present internal revenue and forestry laws by the Internal Revenue Collector and his deputies in the province, after January first, nineteen hundred and one, one-fourth shall be paid into the provincial treasury to be used for provincial purposes, and at least one-third of each one-fourth shall be devoted to the repair and construction of roads in the province. Collections derived from persons cutting timber on government land under the forestry laws shall be regarded for the purpose of this section as collected in the province where the timber is cut, although actually collected at Manila or some other place. The amount due under this section to any province shall be fixed by the Collector of Internal Revenue of the Islands after examination of the records of his office and those of the Bureau of Forestry. He shall certify the amount thus fixed to the Insular Treasurer to the proper provincial treasurer; and if the money has been paid into the Insular Treasury through the Military Governor, to the Commission for the necessary appropriation. If the money has not been paid into the Insular Treasury and remains in the hands of the provincial treasurer as provincial collector of Internal Revenue, it shall be paid into the provincial treasury as funds of the province.

SECTION 19. Should the military governor have reason to believe that any provincial officer is guilty of disloyalty, dishonesty, oppression or misconduct in office, he may suspend him from the discharge of the duties of his office and shall report the suspension with its grounds, to the Commission. The Commission after due notice to the suspended officer shall investigate the cause of suspension, and either remove him from office, or reinstate him, as the circumstances may require; but such suspension or removal shall not prevent the institution of criminal proceedings under the Criminal Code; every provincial officer shall be subject to prosecution for a criminal act committed by him in Courts of First Instance in the same manner as any other person.

SECTION 20. In case it should be necessary to take private property for the purpose of constructing roads or erecting public buildings, and no agreement with the owner or owners can be arrived at as to the purchase price which is satisfactory to the Board, the Board shall have power to declare that the property is needed for public uses and to institute, as provided by law, condemnation proceedings to appropriate the same for the use of the province.

SECTION 21. Vacancies in provincial offices, created by removal or death, shall be filled by appointment by the Commission within thirty days after the vacancy occurs. After the office of provincial governor shall become elective, such appointments to a vacancy in that office shall be only for the remainder of the term of the person whose death or removal causes the vacancy. In case of the death or removal of a provincial treasurer, the Insular Treasurer shall at once take charge of the office, books, papers and cash of the late incumbent and forthwith notify the sureties on his official bond, state the accounts of such officer with the municipal, provincial and Insular governments and make report of the same to the provincial board and to the Military Governor. If there is any deficit in the balance on hand, the report shall also be transmitted to the provincial fiscal, who shall bring suit forthwith against the sureties on the bond of the late incumbent to recover the amounts shown to be due from him. The account stated by the Insular Treasurer shall be prima facie evidence of the amount due from such provincial treasurer.

SECTION 22. The short title of this Act shall be "The Provincial Government Act."

SECTION 23. This Act shall take effect on its passage.