(Updated) Bukidnon reps file bill creating 4th district

(In this version, six paragraphs of rejoinder from board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. were added at the end. – Ed.)

MALAYBALAY CITY – Bukidnon’s three members of the House of Representatives filed the bill creating the province’s fourth congressional district, based on records obtained by Bukidnon News.

Rep. Jose Zubiri III (3rd district), the principal author, filed the bill on March 15. House Bill No. 04382 is entitled “An act reapportioning the first (1st) and second (2nd) legislative districts of the province of Bukidnon to hereby create an additional legislative district in the province of Bukidnon to be known as the fourth legislative district.”

Bukidnon’s two other representative’s Florencio Flores Jr (2nd district) and Emmanuel Paras (1st district) co-authored the measure.

As of March 22, the bill is at the Committee on Local Government level for hearings, according to the House of Representatives’ Legislative Information System as of March 30.  Bukidnon News is yet to obtain a copy of the bill.

As of the public consultation on January 6, Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri said the proposed district reconfigures the composition of the existing three districts. He explained that the requirement of 250,000 population for the creation of a new district is behind the reconfiguration.

Bukidnon, with a population of 1.19 million based on the 2007 census, has three legislative districts at present.

The second district where Malaybalay and Valencia cities belong has a population of 474,943.

The move will put the two cities apart in separate districts.

Based on the January 6 presentation of Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. the proposed new second district will be composed of Malaybalay City, and the towns of Lantapan, Cabanglasan, and San Fernando. Its population will be reduced by at least 200,000, down to 272,883.

Valencia City will be included in the 4th district along with Kadingilan from the 3rd district and Kalilangan and Pangantucan from the 1st district. The fourth district will have a population of 276,128 in the proposed composition.

The municipality of Impasug-ong originally from the second district is proposed to be included in the 1st district to join Baungon, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Malitbog, Talakag, and Libona. The first district will have a population of 283, 128.

The third district will be the biggest in population (based on the 2007 population census) with 357, 498. It will be left with seven towns including Damulog, Dangcagan, Don Carlos, Maramag, Kibawe, Kitaotao, and Quezon.

Except for the mayor of Impasug-ong, no other official raised an issue concerning the creation of the new district during the consultation. The mayor of Pangantucan town stood up but eventually agreed that their town will be transferred to the new district.

Impasug-ong mayor Mario Okinlay voiced out their opposition to be included in the first district as they are comfortable with the second district. He said Malaybalay City has a more stable financial status so it would need less use of the PDAF funds.

But Board member Nemesio Beltran, Jr, said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed a resolution in February 2011 incorporating the outcome of the consultation.

He said that the new district will be composed of Valencia City and the towns of Pangantucan and Kalilangan, which belong to the present 1st district.

The 1st district will be composed of the same towns in the north except Pangantucan and Kalilangan.

Only Valencia City will be taken out from the existing second district. This means, Impasug-ong will stay with the district.

The third district will not be reconfigured.

According to Beltran, based on the 2010 census of population each of the reconfigured three districts and the proposed new district will pass the population requirement for the creation of a new district, which is at least 250,000.

President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is yet to sign the 2010 census results.(Walter I. Balane)

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