MANILA, Philippines – Residents of the cities of Batangas and Lipa will get to elect their own congressmen or congresswomen next year, following the declaration of these cities as congressional districts separate from Batangas province.
President Benigno Aquino III approved on August 19 Republic Act 10673, which increases the number of districts in Batangas province from 4 to 6.
This law creates the 5th legislative district to be composed of Batangas City, and the 6th legislative district to be composed of Lipa City.
Batangas City used to be part of the 2nd district, currently represented by Representative Raneo Abu.
Lipa City belonged to the 4th district, with Representative Mark Llandro Mendoza as its congressman.
Minus these cities, the composition of the 4 original districts in Batangas remains the same.
The proposal was passed by the House of Representatives in February 2014, and by the Senate in June 2015.
“The creation of two new legislative districts will boost the development efforts not only in the said areas, but in the whole province of Batangas. With the increasing population of Batangas, the province indeed deserves additional seats in the House of Representatives,” Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, said in a press release in June.
The cities of Batangas and Lipa are the most populous local government units in the province. As of May 2010, Batangas City has a population of 305,607 people, while Lipa City has 283,468.
Batangas City is currently under the leadership of Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha, while Lipa City is being headed by Mayor Meynardo Sabili.
The two cities have the most number of voters in the province. As of the May 2013 elections, Batangas City had 207,756 registered voters, while Lipa City had 147,564 registered voters.
An ABS-CBN report stated that even before the law was approved, there were already speculations as to who would run for congressman in these new districts.
For Batangas City, among those expected to run are:
- for the Nationalista Party, either City Board Member Marvie Mariño or his brother-in-law Dondon Dimacuha
- for the Liberal Party, either former Board Member Joel Atienza or Deputy Executice Secretary Ronaldo Geron
- for the United Nationalist Alliance, someone from the clan of Vice Mayor Emilio Francisco Berberabe Jr.
For Lipa City, meanwhile, expected to face off are Mayor Sabili or his wife Bernadette, and anyone from the Recto clan. Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto was mayor from 1998 to 2007.
These two new districts will bring the number of congressional districts to 239 by 2016.
Earlier this year, Aquino approved the creation of a new congressional district for the city of Biñan in Laguna while Senate passed a bill that will create a 7th district for the province of Cebu. Last year, the province of Davao Occidental was created. – Rappler.com