Rep. Pinol hits proposal to add more districts in North Cotabato

"Why discuss this highly sensitive issue when the vice governor who chairs the SP was absent?   They should have waited for [Vice-Governor] Manny [Pinol] before they decided to tackle that," Rep. Pinol, younger brotgher of the Vice Governor said in an interview with radio station DXND.

Vice-Gov Pinol is currently in the United States for a two-week vacation with his family and is expected to return to the country on May 28.

Rep. Pinol expressed doubts that the proponent of the proposal has "some vested interests" in it.

Provincial Board Member Jose "Ping-Ping" Tejada Tejada, whose term ends in 2010, authored the proposal. He submitted his proposal during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan last Tuesday. Pinol said he knew about it the next day through text messages.

Rep. Pinol said he was irked by what he described as failure of the proponent "to study very carefully his proposal before he decided to submit it at the SP plenary".

One of the issues Tejada failed to consider, he said, "is the geographic location of the towns to be included in each district".

"Why include Banisilan, which is located in the northeast, in a district that includes towns in southwest? They're not contiguous," said Rep. Pinol.

"The division should be based on geographical locations, not based on the internal revenue allotment.  This is the reason why I see some vested interests of those politicians backing this proposal, including Tejada," he stressed.

Tejada said that with the IRA and its population, the province qualifies to have additional two congressional districts.  

North Cotabato province is a landlocked province in central Mindanao .  Its capital is Kidapawan City and borders Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon to the north; Davao del Sur, Davao City, and Sultan Kudarat to the south; and Maguindanao to the west.

It has one component city and 17 towns with more than 958 thousand population and an area of 656, 590 hectares.  Currently, it has two congressional districts – the first district comprises of towns of Pigcawayan, Libungan, Midsayap, Banisilan, Alamada, Pikit, Aleosan, Carmen, and Kabacan; and the second district is comprised of towns of President Roxas, Magpet, Arakan, Antipas, Kidapawan City, M'lang, Tulunan, Makilala, and Matalam. (MindaNews)