BY ROLAND HIDALGO
DAGUPAN CITY—I did not go against the idea of re districting but the manner that it has reached the Senate is,especially that it was very clear that the people of our province was not properly consulted said Governor Amado T. Espino Jr.in a radio interview via DWPR’s One on one.
Governor Amado Espino Jr. explained that the Provincial Government is not against the redistricting of the province.
In fact, Espino said, they would like the number of legislative districts in Pangasinan be increased not only to seven but 10, the maximum number the province can avail of based on the 250,000 population requirement for one district. (Based on the 2007 Census of Population, Pangasinan’s population is about 2.7 million).
He said 10 congressional districts would mean more development funds for Pangasinan.
However, he said population requirement should not only be the basis in the redistricting. He said other factors like culture, economy, tourism program attachments, and even dialect must be considered strongly.
Espino cited the following contentions why they are against the passage of the bill:
* Lapse in the procedural and legal matters, as the provincial officials were not consulted;
* Geographical and pragmatism; and
* Logic and practicality of reapportioning the three districts (1, 2 and 3) into four districts.
A two-termer congressman himself who served at the second district, Espino said matter-of-factly that there are a lot of congressmen who are representing districts (like Batanes) whose population is less than 150,000.
“With the 250,000 population requirement by law, Pangasinan should have 10. If that is so, then we need 10 congressional districts,” the governor said.
Espino said that the House Bill 4267 or An Act Reaportioning The Province of Pangasinan into Seven Legislative Districts is far from being pass.
This is right after Senator Benigno NoynoyAquino, committee chairman on the discussion and deliberation has moved for the suspension of the hearing.
Giving more time for the province and the local officials to get the consensus of the people
The first hearing on the proposed measure was held Monday afternoon at the Senate committee on local government.
The primary author of the bill is second district Representative Victor Aguedo Agbayani. It was supported by Representatives Arthur Celeste and Rachel Arenas of Pangasinan’s first and second districts, respectively. Celeste, however, withdrew later his support for the said bill.
The point of discussion was the legislative district component, which is “practicable, contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory.”
“I would refer to all of them and their collective wisdom. If they agree to something, then I will be the executor of their will. I promise that we will expedite passage of the said measure,” the senator said.
There are six legislative districts in Pangasinan.
The bill moves for the addition of one new district. However, the redistricting or reapportionment will only cover districts 1, 2 and 3 as the congressmen from districts 4, 5 and 6 are not amenable and would not like their respective districts to be touched. Espino added.