TITLE XI CONCERNING THE TERRITORIAL ORGANIZATION
CHAPTER 1 CONCERNING THE GENERAL PROVISIONSArticle 285
Outside of the general division of the territory, there will be divisions determined by law for the exercise of the functions and services for which the state is responsible.Article 286
Departments, districts, municipalities, and indigenous (Indian) territories are territorial entities. The law may grant the status of territorial entities to the regions and provinces that are formed under the terms of the Constitution and the law.Article 287
Territorial entities enjoy autonomy for the management of their interests within the limits of the Constitution and the law. By virtue of this they will have the following rights:
- To govern themselves under their own authority.
- To exercise the jurisdictions appropriate to them.
- To administer their resources and establish the taxes necessary for their
- To participate in national revenues.
The Organic Law of Territorial Organization will establish the division of jurisdictions among the nation and the territorial entities. The jurisdictions assigned to the various territorial levels will be exercised in accordance with the principles of coordination, competition, and subsidiary relationships under the terms stipulated by law.Article 289
Under the authority of the law, the departments and municipalities located in border areas may promote directly with the territorial entity on the border of the neighboring country, on a basis of equality, cooperation, and integration, programs whose purpose it is to promote community development, the provision of public services, and the protection of the environment.Article 290
Subject to the performance of the requirements and formalities stipulated by law, and in the cases where the law determines it, the periodic review of the borders of territorial entities will be effected and the official map of the Republic will be published.Article 291
The members of the public associations of territorial entities may not accept any position in the public administration if such would make them lose their investiture.
The controllers and agents may only be involved in the joint administrative boards and councils that they operate in the respective territorial entities when they are expressly invited for specific purposes.Article 292
The deputies and councilors and their kin up to the degree stipulated by law are prohibited from participating in executive boards of the decentralized entities of the respective department, district, or municipality. Officials of the corresponding territorial entity may not be designated if they are spouses or common-law spouses of the deputies and councilors, nor if they are kin to the second degree of consanguinity, affinity one rank removed, or merely by civil status.Article 293
Without prejudice to what is established in the Constitution, the law will determine the qualifications, disabilities, incompatibilities, date of entry, duration of sessions, absolute or temporary disqualifications, causes of removal, and forms of filling the vacancies of the citizens who may be elected by popular vote for the implementation of the public functions in the territorial entities. The law will also stipulate the other necessary provisions for their election and performance of their functions.Article 294
The law may not concede exemptions nor preferential treatment in relation to the property taxes of the territorial entities. Nor may it impose surtaxes except as stipulated in Article 317.Article 295
The territorial entities may issue public notes and bonds of public debt, subject to the conditions of the financial market, and also may contract foreign credit, all of this in accordance with the law regulating the matter.Article 296
For the preservation of public order or for its restoration where it has been disturbed the decrees and orders of the President of the Republic will be applied forthwith and preferentially over measures decreed by the governors; the decrees and orders of governors will be applied in similar manner and with the same effect in relation to the measures decreed by mayors.
CHAPTER 2 CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENTAL REGIMEArticle 297
The National Congress may decree the formation of new departments as long as the requirements mandated in the Organic Law of Territorial Planning are met and once the procedures, studies, and popular consultation stipulated in the Constitution are undertaken and completed.Article 298
The departments enjoy autonomy for the administration of sectional matters as well as the planning and promotion of economic and social development within their territory and within the limits established by the Constitution.
The departments exercise administrative functions, coordination with the municipalities, intermediation between the nation and the municipalities, and the lending of the services determined by the Constitution and the laws. The law will regulate matters connected with the exercise of the powers which the Constitution grants the departments.Article 299
In each department there will be a popularly elected administrative board the Departmental Assembly, which will be made up of no fewer than 11 members and no more than 31.
The National Electoral Council may form within the borders of each department, based on its population, entities for the election of deputies following the plan of the Committee of Territorial Organization. The regime of disabilities and incompatibilities of the deputies will be determined by law. It may not be less strict than that stipulated for congressmen.
The deputies will not have the status of public servants. The term for deputies will be three years. Within the limits established by law, the deputies will be entitled to honoraria for their attendance at the appropriate sessions. To be elected deputy, candidates must be citizens in good standing, be over 21 years of age, not have been sentenced to imprisonment except for political crimes or crimes of strict liability, and to have resided in their respective electoral district during the year immediately preceding the date of election.Article 300
It is the responsibility of the departmental assemblies, by means of ordinances, to do the following:
- Regulate the exercise of the functions and provide the services for which the department is responsible.
- Issue the regulations connected with planning, economic and social development, financial support, and credit to the municipalities, tourism, transportation, the environment, public works, means of communication, and development in their border areas.
- Adopt, in accordance with the law, the plans and programs of economic and social development and public works, with the determination of investments and means that are considered necessary to promote their performance and to secure their completion.
- Decree, in accordance with the law, the taxes and levies necessary for the performance of departmental functions.
- Issue the organic laws of the departmental budget and the annual budget of revenues and expenditures.
- Subject to the requirements stipulated bylaw, create or eliminate municipalities, divide or merge municipal territories, and organize provinces.
- Determine the structure of the departmental administration, the functions of their branches, the scales of remuneration appropriate to the various categories of employment; create the public institutions and industrial or commercial enterprises of the department, and authorize the formation of joint (public-private) companies.
- Dictate policy norms in everything that is subject to legal dispositions.
- Authorize the governor to sign contracts, negotiate loans, sell property, and exercise, pro tempore, specific functions that pertain to departmental assemblies.
- Regulate, in cooperation with the municipality, the areas of sports, education, and public health within the limits determined by law.
- Fulfill the other functions assigned to them by the Constitution and the law.
The plans and programs of development and public works will be coordinated and integrated with the municipal, regional, and national plans and programs.
The ordinances referred to in paragraphs Nos. 3, 5, and 7 of this article, those which decree investments, shares, or the transfer of departmental revenues and property, and those that create services for which the department is responsible or transfer the responsibility to them may be dictated or amended only upon the initiative of the governor.Article 301
The law will stipulate the cases where the assemblies may delegate to the municipal councils certain functions that the law determines. At any time, the assemblies may resume the exercise of the delegated functions.Article 302
The law may establish for one or several departments various qualifications and jurisdictions of administrative and fiscal management different from those stipulated for them in the Constitution, with a view to improving the administration or provision of public services in accordance with their population, economic and natural resources, and social, cultural, and ecological circumstances. In order to accomplish the preceding, the law may delegate to one or several departments powers pertaining to national public organs or entities.Article 303
In each of the departments there will be a governor who will be the head of the sectional administration and legal representative of the department.
The governor will be the agent of the President of the Republic for the maintenance of public order and for the execution of general economic policy as well as for those matters which, through agreements, the nation agrees to delegate to the department. The governors will be elected for a periods of three years and are not eligible for reelection in the subsequent term.
The law will determine the qualifications, requirements, disabilities, and incompatibilities of the governors; will regulate their election; will determine their absolute or temporary incapacities and means to correct them; and will stipulate the other provisions necessary for the normal performance of their duties.Article 304
The President of the Republic, in cases restrictively stipulated by the law, may suspend or remove governors from office. The regime of disabilities and incompatibilities applying to them will be no less strict than that established for the President of the Republic.Article 305
The following are the powers of the governor:
- To respect the Constitution and ensure its compliance as well as the laws, government decrees, and ordinances of the departmental assemblies.
- To direct and coordinate the administrative action of the department and act in its name to manage and promote the coordinated development of its territory, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws.
- To direct and coordinate national services which have been delegated to the governor by the President of the Republic.
- To present to the departmental assembly in a timely manner proposals of ordinances regarding plans and programs of economic and social development, public works, and the annual budget of revenues and expenditures.
- To appoint and remove freely managers or directors of public institutions and industrial or commercial enterprises of the department. The representative of the department in the executive boards of such organs as well as the directors or managers of them are agents of the governor.
- To encourage, in accordance with general plans and programs, the enterprises, industries, and activities appropriate to the cultural, social, and economic development of the department as distinct from that of the nation or municipalities.
- To create, eliminate, and merge positions under their jurisdiction, stipulate their special functions, and determine their emoluments subject to the law and appropriate ordinances. The governor may not commit the departmental treasury to obligations that exceed the total amount allocated for the respective service in the initial budget allocation.
- To eliminate or merge departmental entities in accordance with the ordinances.
- To veto on the grounds of unconstitutionality, illegality, or unsuitability, proposed ordinances or to approve and promulgate them.
- To review acts of the municipal councils and the mayors and if necessary for grounds of unconstitutionality or illegality, submit them to the competent tribunal so that it may decide on their validity.
- To supervise the appropriate collection of departmental revenues, of decentralized entities, and those that are transferred by the nation.
- To convoke the departmental assembly to special sessions in which it may only consider the issues and matters for which it was summoned.
- To select from the list,, originating from the respective national head the managers or sectional heads of the public institutions at the national level in accordance with the law under which the department operates.
- To exercise the administrative functions that the President of the Republic may delegate to the governor.
- Other matters stipulated by the Constitution, the laws, and the ordinances.
Two or more departments may organize themselves into administrative or planning regions with a legal status, autonomy, and their own patrimony. Their principal purpose will be the economic and social development of the respective territory.Article 307
The respective organic law, subject to the plan of the Committee of Territorial Organization, will establish the conditions necessary to solicit the conversion of the region into a territorial entity. The decision taken by the Congress will be submitted in each case to a referendum by the citizens of the departments concerned.
The same law will establish the powers, organs of administration, and resources of the regions and their participation in the handling of revenues originating from the National Endowment Fund. It will also define the principles for the adoption of the special statute of each region.Article 308
The law may limit the departmental appropriations assigned for the honoraria of deputies and the operating expenses of the assemblies and departmental controllers' offices.Article 309
The following will be transformed into departments the districts of Arauca, Casanare, Putumayo, the Archipelago of San Andr Providencia, and Santa Catalina and the police districts [comisaras] of Amazonas, Guaviare, Guaina, Vaups, and Vichada. The assets and rights which belonged to the intendancies [intendencias] and police districts, from any source, will continue to be the property of the respective departments.Article 310
The department of San Andrs Archipelago, Providencia, and Santa Catalina will be regulated, in addition to the provision in the Constitution and the laws for the other departments, by special provisions which in administrative, immigration, fiscal, foreign trade, exchange, financial, and economic development matters will be established by the legislature.
By means of a law approved by the majority of the members of each chamber, it will be possible to limit the exercise of the rights of movement and residence, establish controls on the density of population, regulate the use of land, and submit to special conditions the transfer of immovable property in order to protect the cultural identity of the indigenous (Indian) communities and preserve the environment and natural resources of the archipelago.
Through the creation of the municipalities that may occur, the departmental assembly will guarantee the institutional expression of the original communities assembly will of San Andrs. The municipality of Providencia will have a share of no less than 20 percent of the total value of said departmental revenues.
CHAPTER 3 CONCERNING THE MUNICIPAL REGIMEArticle 311
As the basic entity of the political-administrative branch of the state, it is the responsibility of the municipality to provide those public services determined by law, to build the projects required for local progress, to arrange for the development of its territory, to promote community participation, the social and cultural development of its inhabitants, and to perform the other functions assigned to it by the Constitution and the laws.Article 312
In each municipality there will be an administrative entity popularly elected for a period of three years, the Municipal Council, made up of no fewer than seven and no more than 21 members, determined by law and based on the respective population.
The law will determine the qualifications, disabilities, and incompatibilities of the councilors and the schedule of the ordinary sessions of the councils. The councilors will not have the status of public servants. The law may determine the cases in which the councilor will be entitled to honoraria for their attendance at sessions. Their acceptance of any public employment will constitute an absolute incompatibility.Article 313
It is the responsibility of the councils to do the following:
- Regulate the functioning and efficient delivery of services for which the municipality is responsible.
- Adopt the appropriate plans and programs of economic and social development and of public works.
- Authorize the mayor to make contracts and exercise temporarily specific functions for which the council is responsible.
- Vote for taxes and local expenditures in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
- Dictate the organic budgetary regulations and issue the annual budget of revenues and expenditures.
- Determine the structure of the municipal administration and the functions of its branches; the scales of remuneration appropriate to the various categories of employees; create at the initiative of the mayor public institutions and industrial or commercial enterprises and authorize the formation of joint (public-private) companies.
- Regulate the uses of land and, within the limits determined by law, supervise and control the activities connected with the construction and sale of housing slated for residential use.
- Elect a representative for the period determined by law and the other officials that the law stipulates.
- Dictate the regulations necessary for the control, preservation, and defense of the ecological and cultural patrimony of the municipality.
- Other matters which the Constitution and the law assign to the councils.
In each municipality there will be a mayor, a head of the local administration, and a legal representative of the municipality who will be popularly elected for a period of three years and will not be eligible for reelection in the subsequent period.
The President of the Republic and the governors in the cases restrictively stipulated by the law may suspend mayors or remove them from office. The law will establish the sanctions that apply for the improper exercise of that power.Article 315
The following are powers of the mayor:
- To respect and ensure compliance with the Constitution, the law, the decrees of the government, the ordinances, and the resolutions of the council.
- To protect public order in the municipality, in accordance with the law and the instructions and orders that the mayor may receive from the President of the Republic and the respective governor. The mayor is the highest police authority of the municipality. The National Police will promptly and diligently execute the orders given to it by the mayor through the channel of the respective commander.
- To direct the administration of the municipality, ensure the performance of the functions and the delivery of services for which the mayor is responsible; represent it in a judicial and extra judicial capacity; and appoint and remove the functionaries under his/her jurisdiction as well as the managers or directors of the public institutions and the industrial or commercial enterprises of a local character, in accordance with the relevant provisions.
- To eliminate or merge municipal entities and dependencies, in accordance with the respective resolutions.
- To present in a timely manner to the Council proposals concerning the plans and programs of economic and social development, public works, the annual budget of revenues and expenditures, and other measures that the mayor may find appropriate for the effective operation of the municipality.
- To sanction and promulgate the resolutions which the Council may have approved and to veto those that he/she considers inappropriate or contrary to the legal regulations.
- To create, eliminate, or merge positions under the mayor's jurisdiction, to stipulate their special functions and determine their emoluments in accordance with the relevant resolutions. The mayor may not create obligations that exceed the total amount allocated for personnel expenditures in the approved budget allocations.
- To cooperate with the Council for the effective performance of its functions, present to it general reports on his/her administration, and convoke it to special sessions in which only those issues and matters for which it was summoned may be examined.
- To manage municipal expenditures in accordance with the investment plan and the budget.
- Other matters which the Constitution and the law stipulate.
In the balloting held for the election of local authorities and for the decision of matters of like, nature, only citizens residing in the respective municipality may participate.Article 317
Only municipalities may tax real estate. This does not bar other entities from imposing appraisal levies.
The law will allocate a percentage of these taxes, which may not exceed the average of existing tax surcharges, to the entities entrusted with the protection and conservation of the environment and renewable natural resources, in accordance with the development plans of the municipalities of the area under their jurisdiction.Article 318
With the purpose of improving the provision of services and securing the participation of the citizenry in the handling of public affairs of a local character, the councils may divide their municipalities into communes in the case of urban areas and into district jurisdictions in the case of rural zones.
In each of the communes or district jurisdictions, there will be a popularly elected local administrative board made up of the number of members determined by law and which will have the following functions:
- To participate in the elaboration of municipal plans and programs of economic and social development and public works.
- To supervise and control the provision of municipal services in its commune or district jurisdiction and the investments undertaken with public funds.
- To formulate investment proposals for the national, departmental, and municipal authorities entrusted with the elaboration of the respective investment plans.
- To distribute the overall share allocated to it by the municipal budget.
- To exercise the functions delegated to it by the council and other local authorities. The departmental assemblies may organize administrative boards for the performance of functions stipulated by the act of their establishment in the territory which the law determines.
When two or more municipalities have economic, social, and fiscal relations which give to the whole characteristics of a metropolitan area, they may organize themselves as an administrative entity entrusted with programming and coordinating the harmonious and integrated development of the territory placed under their authority; streamline the provision of public services and if such is the case, jointly provide some of them; and carry out urban projects.
The Law of Territorial Organization will adopt an administrative and fiscal regime of special character for the metropolitan areas; will guarantee that the respective municipal authorities enjoy adequate participation in the administrative bodies; and will stipulate the form of convoking and holding the popular consultations which the municipalities involved may deem necessary.
Once the popular consultation is held, the respective mayors and municipal councilor will record the configuration of the area and will define its powers, financing, and authority in a protocol, in accordance with the law. The metropolitan areas may convert themselves into districts in accordance with the law.Article 320
The law may establish categories of municipalities according to their population, fiscal resources, economic importance, and geographic situation, and stipulate a specific regime for their organization, government, and administration.Article 321
The provinces are made up of municipalities or adjacent indigenous (Indian) territories belonging to the same department. The law will decree the basic statute of the province and determine the administrative regime of the provinces that may be organized to execute the functions delegated to them by national or departmental entities and those which the law assigns to them and to the municipalities that make them up. The provinces will be created by ordinance, at the initiative of the governor, the mayors of the respective municipalities, or a number of citizens determined by law.
For admission to an already constituted province, a popular consultation must be held in the relevant municipalities. The department and municipalities will provide to the provinces the percentage of their current revenues that the assembly and respective councils determine.
CHAPTER 4 CONCERNING THE SPECIAL REGIMEArticle 322
Santaf de Bogot, capital of the Republic and of the Department of Cundinamarca, is organized as the District Capital. Its political, fiscal, and administrative regime are determined by the Constitution, the special laws that are prescribed for it, and the provisions applicable to the municipalities.
Based on the general regulations established by the law, at the initiative of the mayor, the council will divide the territory of the district into localities, in accordance with the social characteristics of its inhabitants, and will make the corresponding allocation of jurisdictions and administrative functions.
It will be the, responsibility of the district authorities to guarantee the harmonious and integrated development of the city and the efficient provision of the services for which the district is responsible; the management of matters proper to their territory will be the responsibility of the local authorities.Article 323
The District Council will consist of one councilor for every 150,000 inhabitants or fraction larger than 75,000 in its territory. In each of the localities there will be an administrative board, popularly elected for a period of three years, which will be made up of no fewer than seven aldermen, in accordance with the determination of the District Council, taking the respective population into account.
The election of the senior mayor, of district councilor, and of aldermen will be held on the same day for a period of three years.
The local mayors will be designated by the senior mayor from a list originating from the corresponding administrative board. In the cases restrictively stipulated by the law, the President of the Republic may suspend or remove the senior mayor from office. The councilor and aldermen may not form part of the executive boards of the decentralized entities.Article 324
The local administrative boards will apportion and appropriate the sums which are allocated to the localities in the annual budget of the district, taking into account the basic needs of their population. Concerning the departmental revenues that are produced in Santaf de Bogot, the law will determine the share appropriate to the capital of the Republic. Such share may not be superior to that established at the date this Constitution goes into effect.Article 325
With the purpose of guaranteeing the performance of the plans and programs of integral development and the timely and efficient provision of the services for which it is responsible, within the terms set by the Constitution and the law, the Capital District may form a metropolitan area with the adjacent municipalities and a region with other territorial entities of departmental character.Article 326
The adjacent municipalities may become incorporated into the Capital District if this is what the citizens who reside in them determine by means of a vote that will be held when the District Council has expressed its approval of such incorporation. If the latter occurs, the former municipality will apply the constitutional and legal provisions applicable to the other localities that make up the Capital District.Article 327
The citizens registered in the electoral rolls of the District Capital will not participate in the elections of governor and deputies to the Departmental Assembly of Cundinamarca.Article 328
The Touristic and Cultural District of Cartagena de Indias and the Touristic, Cultural, and Historic District of Santa Marta will retain their regime and character.Article 329
The configuration of the indigenous (Indian) territorial entities will be developed subject to the provisions of the Organic Law of Territorial Planning, and their determination will be effected by the national government with the participation of the representatives of the indigenous communities following, the plan of the Commission of Territorial Planning.
The reservations constitute collective property and are inalienable.
The law will define the relations and coordination of these entities with those of which they form a part. In the case of an indigenous (Indian) territory that includes the territory of two or more departments, its administration will be implemented by indigenous councils in coordination with the governors of the respective departments.
In case that such territory should decide to constitute itself as a territorial entity, this will be done in compliance with the requirements established in the first clause of this article.Article 330
In accordance with the Constitution and the laws, the indigenous (Indian) territories will be governed by councils formed and regulated according to the customs of their communities and will exercise the following functions:
- Supervise the application of the legal regulations concerning the uses of land and settlement of their territories.
- Design the policies, plans, and programs of economic and social development within their territory, in accordance with the National Development Plan.
- Promote public investments in their territories and supervise their appropriate implementation.
- Collect and distribute their funds
- Supervise the conservation of natural resources.
- Coordinate the programs and projects promoted by the different communities in their territory.
- Cooperate with to maintain public order within their territory in accordance with the instructions and provisions of the national government.
- Represent the territories before the national government and the other entities within which they are integrated; and
- Other matters stipulated by the Constitution and the law.
Exploitation of natural resources in the indigenous (Indian) territories will be done without impairing the cultural, social, and economic integrity of the indigenous communities. In the decisions adopted with respect to the said exploitation, the government will encourage the participation of the representatives of the respective communities.Article 331
The Autonomous Regional Corporation of the Rio Grande de la Magdalena entrusted with the improvement of navigation, port activity, the improvement and conservation of land, the generation and distribution of energy, and the use and conservation of the environment, fishing resources, and other renewable natural resources will be established.
The law will determine its organization and sources of financing and will define in favor of the riparian municipalities special treatment in the assignment of benefits and in their share of current national revenues.