When there came a world oil crisis in 1991 as a result of the Gulf War, developmental planners in Naga City and its surrounding municipalities had to rethink their goal and direction. They had to address more of their commonality rather than their diversity, resource sharing rather than politicking.
Inasmuch as almost all of the gasoline stations in Metro Naga are located in Naga City, its then city mayor convened the mayors of the adjacent municipalities to map out their needs and priorities in setting the system and procedure for rationing available fuel supply. The resulting scheme kept vital services running and its success paved the way for other cooperative efforts and undertakings – all leading to the creation of an institution – the Metro Naga Development Council -- that would address these cross-boundary issues and problems.
Another impetus was the enactment of the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 which mandated the absorption of devolved personnel, creating chaos in the budgets of many LGUs. Again, the mayors of Naga and its neighboring municipalities held informal meetings to share experiences and formulate common strategies to overcome the initial difficulties that accompanied the implementation of the LGC.
Then the senior citizens of the neighboring municipalities clamored that they also be granted the same benefits enjoyed by their colleagues in Naga City. As early as 1989, Naga has in place a senior citizens program that granted the elderly various discounts from public institutions and private establishments. The mayors again met, "Metro Naga" was coined, and the Metro Naga Senior Citizens League was subsequently formed to facilitate the grant of discount privileges to Metro Naga elderly. This was the third event.
Soon after, requests for the use of the city's heavy equipment came from the municipal mayors bringing to the fore the need for a mechanism to facilitate such sharing of resources between the city and its neighbors. The new LGC gave the answer with its grant of expanded powers and prerogatives to LGUs allowing them to pool their efforts and resources for commonly beneficial projects and activities. A task force was formed to study the mechanics for the exercise of such powers. The rest, as they say, is history.
What was left was to forge a memorandum of agreement (MOA) formally detailing the covenants of roles and responsibilities of the different LGUs and have the MOA approved by their respective legislative councils. This MOA <link to scanned copy of MOA> was signed on April 23, 1993 in Naga City with then Secretary Rafael Alunan III of the Department of Interior and Local Government as principal witness.
Thus was born the Metro Naga Development Council, a cooperative effort necessitated by the backlash of the Gulf War that later evolved into a partnership for the joint development of 15 LGUs. This local initiative was affirmed by then President Ramos himself through Executive Order No. 102 issued on June 18, 1993.