Underscoring the enormous economic benefit for a province with more legislative districts, two Boholano congressmen have started discussing ways of creating two more congressional districts here, saying the vision, if realized, will further spur growth and development in a province where a single district seems like a province in itself in terms of land area and population.
Existing laws provide that a new legislative district can be created if it can satisfy the minimum requirement of 250,000 population, on top of other minor considerations.
As of this year, Bohol’s population has breached the 1.3 million mark.
With only three districts at hand, the three congressmen of Bohol are facing a work overload or a biting-off-more-than-one-can-chew situation, sources said.
Second District Representative Aris Aumentado, in an interview with The Bohol Tribune yesterday, said that while he could still manage to take of his district’s 346 barangays, he believes he could be more productive in serving his constituents if some of the barangays under his area of responsibility would be offloaded and be included in a new legislative district.
“Dugay na ko nangandoy nga mahitabo ni sa atong probinsya kay dako kaayo ni nga economic advantage para sa atong mga katawhan,” Aumentado answered when he was sought for comments on the matter.
Aumentado said that since Bohol is well qualified to create two more legislative districts, it would be a disservice to the Boholano people if “we won’t support the possible creation of additional districts.”
The son of the late governor Erico Boyles Aumentado noted that he and First District Representative Rene Lopez Relampagos had already made initial talks on the said prospect.
Recalling his conversation with Relampagos, Aumentado said the first district congressman had expressed full support to the plan, while Third District Representative Arthur Yap is yet to be consulted on the matter.
“Nag-estorya na mi ni Congressman Rene kabahin ani last Thursday ug nagkauyon mi nga maayo kaayo nga makabuhat ta ug laing duha ka distrito para sa probinsya,” Aumentado said during a phone interview.
He said creating two more districts for Bohol would be a breeze at the House of Representatives if the three Boholano congressmen would unite for the initiative.
Asked to comment on this pipe dream, Rep. Yap replied in a text message to Tribune: “Definitely interesting… something to study.”
Yap did not elaborate on his comment.
A text message sent to Relampagos seeking his thoughts on the matter remains unanswered until dawn hours of Sunday.
Meanwhile, Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio II, acting as a volunteer personal assistant to the Office of Governor Edgar M. Chatto, yesterday told The Bohol Tribune during a chance interview that if such direction would be pushed by the three incumbent congressmen they would “certainly create a lasting legacy for the people of Bohol.”
“Looking at the economic benefits, a Bohol with five districts means an additional funding for projects and programs from the national government,” Damalerio said during the interview.
“The three incumbent congressmen of Bohol have nothing to lose, but everything to gain,” Damalerio said.
He said the three lawmakers could “just” agree among each other which towns would be taken out from their respective district, and incorporate these to the newly created district.
“It’s just a matter of discussing and understanding which towns would now belong to the new district,” he said.
Agreeing with Aumentado, Damalerio said the city of Tagbilaran, the towns of Dauis and Panglao and two to three more towns can be formed into a new legislative district, as the combined population of these areas can already satisfy the 250,000-population requirement.
“Tan-awa ra gud ang Cebu ug ubang probinsya, daghan sila ug distrito didto. Kita ra diri sa Bohol ang nagpabilin nga tulo gihapon nga pwede man kaayo ta nga magdugang,” Aumentado had said.
At present, Cebu province has seven legislative districts.
Aumentado, reechoing the statement of Damalerio, said Bohol has nothing to lose but everything to gain when two more legislative districts are being created since each district will receive an equal share of project funding from the national government. (Ligalig Mike)