A veteran member of the House of Representatives on Tuesday sought the split of Basilan into two congressional districts, citing the province’s drastic increase in population brought about by “our tireless effort to bring peace and prosperity to the province.”
Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman said more and more people want to relocate to Basilan and few of the locals want to leave due to their newly-fond confidence in the sustained peace and security in the province.
Hataman, who represents Basilan in the House, filed a bill that seeks reapportion of the lone congressional district of Basilan into two legislative districts.
Because of the increase in the number of Basileño, the needs of the province and its people have likewise increased, prompting the need for a second legislative district in the province, he added.
House Bill 10407 quoted Article VI, Section 5, Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1987 Constitution that mandates:
“(3) Each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative.
(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.”
“The province of Basilan is an island province situated within BARMM. It is the fourth largest in terms of land area in the region, and is currently politically subdivided into two component cities and eleven municipalities,” Hataman said in the bill.
“As of May 1, 2020, the total population of Basilan is 556,586 including Isabela City. The same Census indicates that the population of Basilan grew the fastest in the last five years. In terms of annual growth rate, Sulu recorded the highest rate at 4.14 percent, followed by Basilan (including Isabela City) at 4.12 percent. Excluding Isabela City, Basilan registered a record high of 4.45 percent growth rate,” he added.
HB 10407, or An Act Reapportioning the Lone District of the Province of Basilan Thereby Creating the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative Districts of Basilan, proposes the following reapportionment:
First legislative district – Isabela City and the municipalities of Lantawan, Maluso, Hadji Muhtamad, and Tabuan-Lasa.
Second legislative district – Lamitan City and the municipalities of Akbar, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburan, Ungkaya Pukan, Sumisip and Al-Barka.
“In keeping with the above-mentioned cases and in consonance with the constitutionally-enshrined mandate of democratic and proportional representation, the bill, therefore, proposes to reapportion the province of Basilan into two legislative districts,” the lawmaker said.