General Santos City gets own congressional district
MANILA, Philippines – General Santos City will soon have its own representative in the House.
Republic Act No. 11243, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 11, carved General Santos City out of South Cotabato's first district. It becomes the province's third legislative district.
The towns of Polomolok, Tampakan, and Tupi will remain in the first district. The 2nd district of South Cotabato, on the other hand, will continue to include Koronadal City and the municipalities of Banga, Lake Sebu, Norala, Santo Niño, Surallah, Tantangan, and T'Boli.
It remains unclear if the new district will get to elect its representative in the coming May elections. Even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not sure.
Section 2 of the law simply states: "The incumbent Representatives of the present First and Second Legislative Districts of the Province of South Cotabato shall continue to represent the districts until the new Representatives shall have been elected and qualified."
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told Rappler he "can't say right now" whether the election for the new district will happen on May 13, because "there is a process for that."
General Santos City has a population of 594,446, according to the 2015 census. For the 2019 elections, it has a voting population of 301,106.
The Comelec should issue the rules and regulations to implement RA 11243 within 30 days after the law's effectivity. The law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the government's Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
This is the 6th law on reapportionments of congressional districts under President Duterte. It follows legislative district changes in Aklan, Isabela, Cavite, Calamba City in Laguna, and Southern Leyte. – Rappler.com