‘No objection’ as Senate committees hear Bukidnon’s proposed 4th district

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/16 August) There has been no objection so far as the Senate’s Committees on Local Government and Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes heard today in a joint meeting House Bill 5236 or the proposed “Act Reaportioning the Province of Bukidnon into four legislative district,” board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. said via telephone.

Board member Jay Albarece, who joined Beltran in attending the hearing said “(there were) no issues with the bill, all constitutional requirements (were complied with).”

Beltran , majority floor leader of the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan, was asked to attend as resource speaker in the hearing along with Bukidnon 3rd district Rep. Jose Ma. Zubiri III, Albarece, board secretary Apollo Maguale, and Kalilangan town mayor Myrna Suyao, president of the Bukidnon chapter of the League of Mayors of the Philippines.

Beltran quoted Senator Ferdinand Marcos J, chair of the committee on Local Government, as saying that there is no more hindrance at the committee level of the Senate. Senator Manuel Villar, chair of the Constitutional Amendments committee, joined Marcos in the hearing.

But Marcos clarified that the situation in plenary could be different.

Albarece said the National Statistics Office posed no objection on the requirement of 250,000 population in every district.  The representative from the Commission on Elections, he added, also did not object as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Land Management Bureau on the requirement of ‘contigious and adjacent’ towns to form a district.

The joint hearing also tackled the proposed bills for additional districts in Maguindanao and Zamboanga del Sur provinces, according to the Senate’s schedule posted on its website.

Albarece said a mayor who belonged to the Mangudadatus expressed objection to the proposed district citing no urgency yet for its creation and some problems with towns not contigious and the requirement on population.

Beltran said Marcos halted the hearing on the Maguindanao additional district and set another schedule.

As of mid-afternoon, Albarece said the hearing for the Zamboanga del Sur proposed bill was still on-going.

In a letter on August 6, Marcos asked the Bukidnon Sangguniang Panlalawigan to submit position papers on the bill.

Last year, the House of Representatives has approved Bukidnon’s fourth district bill on third reading, according to Congress’s online database in its website in October 2011.

House Bill No. 5236, or the “Act Reapportioning the Province of Bukidnon into four legislative districts,” was approved Oct. 3 with 217-0-0 votes, barely a month after it was recommended for approval on Sept. 5. by the House committee on local government as contained in its Committee Report No. 01402.

The refiled bill substituted House Bill No. 4382, which was filed last March by Bukidnon Rep. Jose Ma. Zubiri III (3rd Dist.), and co-authored by Representatives Florencio T. Flores Jr. (2nd Dist.) and Jesus Emmanuel Paras (1st Dist.). (Walter I. Balane / Bukidnon News)