SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 7778, seeking to reapportion the province of Isabela into six legislative districts from the current four, to meet the socio-economic and political demands of the province as it continues to grow in terms of economic development, human capital, and increasing trend in population.
Voting 239-0, the House passed the bill principally authored by Rep. Rodolfo Albano III who said the people of Isabela must be given equal opportunity to participate in the national legislative affairs through their legislative representatives, the number of which of which must be based on the provision of the Constitution.
Per the bill, the First Legislative District of Isabel shall be composed of Ilagan City and the municipalities of Cabagan, Delfin Albano, Divilacan, Maconacon, Tumauini, San Pablo, Santa Maria, and Sto. Tomas.
The Second District shall be composed of the municipalities of Benito Soliven, Palanan, Naguillan, Reina Mercedes, San Mariano, and San Agustin, while the Third Legislative District shall be composed of the municipalities of Alicia, Cabatuan, San Mateo, Ramon, and Angandanan.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Legislative District shall composed of Santiago City and municipalities of Cordon, Dinapigue, San Agustin, and Jones, while the Fifth Legislative District shall be composed of the municipalities of Aurora, Burgos, Luna, Mallig, Quezon, Quirino, Roxas, and San Manuel.
Lastly, the Sixth Legislative District shall be composed of Cauayan City and the municipalities of Echague, San Guillermo and San Isidro.
Albano said Article VI, Section 5, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides that each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least 250,000, or each province, shall have at least one representative. 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.
In terms of land area, Albano said Isabela is the second largest province in the country. It is politically divided into three cities and 34 municipalities, he said.
“A first class province, Isabela is a major contributor to the country’s economic growth and development, being the number one producer of corn and the number two producer of rice in the Philippines,” said Albano.
Meanwhile, based on the latest 2015 census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Isabela has a total population of 1,593,566, including the highly urbanized City of Santiago with a population of 134,830.
“Hence, considering the total number of population based on the latest census, it shows that each district representative is serving an average of 318,000 constituents. The disproportionate number of constituents for each district representative hampers the ability to reach out and provide adequate representation in Congress and in the national government for effective and efficient services to the people of Isabela,” said Albano.
To further bolster their potentials, Albano said the people of Isabela must be given equal opportunity to participate in the national legislative affairs through their district representatives, the number of which must be based on the Constitution.
“Thus, the reapportionment of the present four districts into six is deemed necessary and fitting to meet the socio-economic and political demands of Isabel as it continues to grow in terms of economic development, human capital, and increasing trend of population,” said Albano.
Other authors of HB 7778 are Reps. Ana Cristina Go, Napoleon Dy, Ma. Lourdes Aggabao, Jose Panganiban, Jr. and Arnel Ty./ R. B. Bundang