Bukidnon reps file bill creating province’s 4th district

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/30 March) – Bukidnon’s three members of the House of Representatives filed a bill creating the province’s fourth congressional district, House records obtained by MindaNews said.

Rep. Jose Zubiri III (3rd District), the principal author, filed on March 15 the bill “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 – 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.  MindaNews has yet to obtain a copy of the bill. As of the public consultation on January 6, the proposed district reconfigures the composition of the existing three districts. Zubiri 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.

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 have the biggest population (based on the 2007 population census) with 357,498. It will be left with seven towns, namely, 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 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 Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF, more popularly known as “pork barrel”) funds. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)