September 28, 2023

The House of Representatives has approved on first reading House Bill 6615 seeking to create two legislative districts for Benguet, which was filed by Rep. Eric Go Yap of ACT-CIS party-list.

Yap, who is the legislative caretaker of Benguet, announced on social media that HB 6615 entitled “An Act Reapportioning the Province of Benguet into two Legislative Districts” was referred to the committee on local government on May 4.

The bill, which was also proposed by previous Benguet officials, intends for Benguet to have two representatives to the Lower House.

The 18th Congress recently resumed its regular session last week after it went on break since the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine on March 17.

Under the bill, the first legislative district will be composed of Bokod, Itogon, Kabayan, Sablan, and Tuba while the towns of Atok, Bakun, Buguias, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan, and Tublay will compose the second legislative district.

“This bill seeks to ensure equitable representation for the constituents of the province of Benguet in the legislature and the national government by creating a new legislative district,” the resolution added.

The Commission of Elections is also tasked to issue the implementing rules and regulations if the proposed measure is approved into law.

The bill was based on the earlier request of the sangguniang panlalawigan to the late Rep. Nestor Fongwan Sr. to work on the creation of a second district for the province.

In the resolution, the board said it is high time for the province to create another district since other provinces and cities have been granted an additional legislative district through several laws enacted by Congress.

“Thirty-two years have passed since the effectivity of the 1987 Constitution and there has been significant development in the country that necessitates the increase of legislative districts, especially in a province such as Benguet,” the resolution reads.

Yap, in an interview during his visit to the province on May 8, said a public consultation will be scheduled to tackle the bill.

Magkakaroon pa po ng public consultation para importante makuha po natin ang pulso ng taga-Benguet,” Yap said. – Ofelia C. Empian