On 19 July 2012, President Noynoy Aquino signed into law, Republic Act No. 10171, which reapportions the Province of Palawan into three (3) legislative districts, from its present 2- district apportionment. The law effectively creates and adds a third congressional district to “the longest province in the Philippines”, to be composed of the highly urbanized City of Puerto Princesa and the Municipality of Aborlan. Of the 994,340 total population of Palawan, the two components of the new district have a combined population count of 254,883 as of the 2010 national census.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, speaking in defense of the measure, said that, “(w)ith the increasing population of the province of Palawan and the categorization of Puerto Princesa City as a highly urbanized city, the Palaweños deserve an additional seat in the House of Representatives.”
“The rule on apportionment is based on the principle of equality of representation. This means that larger provinces or representative districts should be entitled to more representatives in Congress,” Senator Bongbong explained.
R.A. No. 10171 originated from the House of Representatives as House Bill No. 5608, introduced by Representative Victorino Dennis Socrates, and was subsequently approved on third reading in the Senate without any amendments.
Under the law, the reapportionment of Palawan shall already be effective in the upcoming 2013 mid-term elections.