Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I have the honor to report to the Senate Committee Report No. 126, containing House Bill No. 3750 with amendments, which seeks to reapportion the Province of Batangas into six (6) Legislative districts.
The province of Batangas is one of the earliest provinces established by the Spaniards. It is a first-class province and one of the most popular tourist destinations near metro manila. It is home to the famous Taal volcano and Taal heritage town, a small picturesque town that has ancestral houses and structures dating back to the 19th century. The province also has many spectacular beaches and diving spots.
The province of Batangas is ranked fifth (5th) most populated province of the country, with a population count of 2,377,395 based on the 2010 census of population and housing issued by the Philippine statistics authority.
At present, the province has four (4) legislative districts. House bill no. 3750 seeks to separate the city of Batangas from the second (2nd) legislative district, to constitute the lone legislative district of the province of Batangas. However, during one of the committee deliberations of the said bill, our distinguished colleagues from the province of Batangas, senator Ralph Recto, had proposed to amend the bill. The proposal was to reapportion the province of Batangas into six (6) legislative districts, by creating the fifth (5th) legislative district to be composed of the city of Batangas, and the sixth (6th) legislative district to be composed of the city of Lipa.
The city of Batangas is a first-class city, with a population of 305,607 based on the 2010 census of population and housing issued by the Philippine statistics authority. Currently, it is a part of the second (2nd) congressional district. Under the proposed measure, the municipalities of Bauan, lobo, Mabini, san Luis, San Pascual and Tingloy shall continue to comprise the second (2nd) congressional district. These municipalities have a combined population count of 269,981 based on the 2010 census.
The City of Lipa is also a first-class city, with a population of 283,468 based on the 2010 census. It is currently a part of the fourth (4th) congressional district. Under the proposed measure, the Municipalities of Ibaan, Padre Garcia, Rosario, San Jose, San Juan, and Taysan shall continue to comprise the fourth (4th) congressional district. These municipalities have combined population count of 397,085 based on the 2010 census.
The Municipalities of Balayan, Calaca, Calatagan, Lemery, Lian, Nasugbu, Taal, and Tuy shall continue to comprise the first (1st) legislative district of the province while the Municipalities of Agoncillo, Alitagtag, Balete, Cuenca, Laurel, Malvar, Mataas na Kahoy, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Sto. Tomas, Talisay, and the City of Tanauan shall continue to constitute the third (3rd) congressional district.
The 1987 Constitution, particularly under Article VI, section 5, sub-paragraph 3, mandates that each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) shall have at least one (1) representative. Clearly, the City of Batangas and the City of Lipa have both exceeded the population requirement of at least 250,000 under the constitution to be entitled to one representative. On this basis alone, the said cities should be accorded their respective representatives in congress.
The constituents of these cities, through their duly elected representatives, have manifested their desire to claim their right under the constitution to have their own representatives. Your Committee on Local Government sees no reason to deny that right.
It was also pointed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Batangas that based on the last official census, the province has a population of 2,377,395. At an annual growth rate of 2.24%, the population is now expected to be at 2,430,648 and shall grow up to 2,540,761 by 2016. This makes the province of batangas one of the biggest provinces in terms of population. Thus, with only four (4) legislative districts at present, the province is clearly under-represented in the House of Representatives.
My dear colleagues, the creation of two (2) new legislative districts will boost the development efforts not only in the said areas, but in the whole province. And with the increasing population of the Province of Batangas, and for reasons that I just stated, the said province indeed deserves additional seats in the House of Representatives.
May I therefore request my colleagues in this august chamber to join me in approving house bill no. 3750, with amendments, under committee report no. 126.