Voting 19-0, the Senate yesterday passed on third and final reading the bill seeking to split Aklan province into two legislative districts.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, sponsor of the measure, said the creation of a second district was clearly a “timely initiative.”
“What is important is that by creating a new legislative district we are opening new opportunities for Aklanons to participate and have a true ‘voice’ in the governance of their communities,” said Angara, who chairs the Senate local government committee.
The province’s additional representation in Congress, he added, would boost national government support.
“We are hopeful that this move would also ensure the improved delivery of public services to Aklanons,” he said.
Article 6, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides that a city or a province with a population of at least 250,000 should have at least one representative in Congress.
According to the 2015 census, Aklan has a population of around 574,000.
The proposal first came from the House of Representatives, as rules mandate that local bills must emanate from the chamber.
According to Angara’s office, there would be no bicameral conference committee, as the House adopted the Senate’s version. This means the final bill would soon be enrolled for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law.
Under the measure, the first district of Aklan will be composed of the first-class municipality of Kalibo and the eastern towns of Altavas, Balete, Batan, Libacao, Madalag, New Washington, and Banga, with a total population of about 297,318.
The second district will be composed of the first-class town of Malay, where Boracay is, and the municipalities of Buruanga, Ibajay, Nabas, Malinao, Tangalan, Makato, Numancia, and Lezo – all located in the western side and with a total population of about 277,505. (Camille Elemia, Rappler.com)