Thank you Mr. President.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I have the honor to report to the Senate Committee Report No. 127 containing House Bill no. 4427 which seeks to create an additional Legislative District in the province of Cebu to be known as the Seventh Legislative District.
The province of Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines. While the highly urbanized city of Cebu which is the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas is not under provincial supervision, it is often grouped with the province, together with two (2) other highly urbanized cities of Lapu-lapu and Mandaue for geographical and statistical purposes.
With many beautiful islands, white sand beaches, luxury hotels and resorts, diving locations and heritage sites, high domestic and foreign tourists’ arrivals have fueled the tourism industry of Cebu.
It consistently gets a big share of tourist arrivals in the Philippines and has become the tourist gateway to central and southern Philippines.
The province also hosts various national and international conferences every year.
The province of Cebu is ranked no. 5 most populated province of the country with a population of 2,619,362 based on the 2010 census of population and housing issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
At present, the province has six (6) Legislative Districts. House bill no. 4427 seeks to create one (1) additional Legislative District out of municipalities from the existing Second Congressional District to be known as the Seventh Legislative District.
Under the present measure, the proposed seventh (7th) Legislative District shall be composed of the municipalities of Dumanjug, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Badian, Alegria, Malabuyoc and Ginatilan.
The proposed new district has a population of 200,092 based on the 2010 census of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The municipalities of Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander and Samboan shall continue to comprise the second (2nd) Legislative District of the province.
These municipalities have combined population count of 223,360 based on the 2010 census conducted by the Philippine Statistic Authority.
The proponents had explained that the present Second Legislative District is located in the Southern tail-end of the elongated island of Cebu. Its land area is almost one third (1/3) of that of the entire province.
It is composed of 15 municipalities which is more than one third (1/3) of the 44 municipalities of the province.
It has the biggest number of barangays at two hundred eighty four (284) and has 246.8 kilometers of national roads, the longest among the six legislative districts of the province.
The enormous size of the land area of the present Second Congressional District, as compared to the remaining Congressional Districts of the province of Cebu, burdens its present representatives in the effective discharge of its duties to their constituents.
My dear colleagues, it was argued that the creation of a new legislative district will boost the development efforts not only in the said area but in the whole province.
It was also noted that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the province of Cebu passed a resolution asking the six districts representatives of the province to work for the passage of a law increasing the number of Legislative Districts for the province.
The 1987 constitution, under article VI, Section 5, sub-paragraph 1 mandates that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from Legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and Sectoral parties or organizations.
Furthermore, article VI, section 5, sub-paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides, among others, that:
(3) Each Legislative District shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory.
(4) Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of Legislative Districts based on the standards provided in this section.
With the increasing population of the province of Cebu and for reasons that just mentioned, the said province indeed deserves an additional seat in the House of Representatives.
May I therefore request my colleagues in this August Chamber to join me in approving House Bill 4427 under Committee Report No. 127.