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ITOGON, Benguet – The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Benguet chapter assured its overwhelming support to the proposed bill filed by Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap seeking for the re-districting of Benguet into two legislative districts.
LMP Benguet chapter president and Mayor Victorio T. Palangdan pointed out that the proposed re-districting of the province will guarantee increased representation of Benguet in the House of Representatives aside from added share from government resources for each of the districts.
He explained that in the case of the proposed first district where most of the mining towns are situated, there are numerous issues on the existing mining laws that should be corrected to conform with the prevailing situation, thus, with the increase in the number of seats in the House for the province, there will be a greater chance for the elected lawmakers to ventilate the same so that the needed amendments could be introduced so as not to prejudice the small-scale miners.
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The municipal chief executive underscored one of the provisions of the small-scale mining law that must be amended is the requirement that pocket mines first secure the consent of large-scale mining companies when doing their operations within established mineral reservations in the locality where they intend to operate.
Earlier, Congressman Yap filed a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to re-district Benguet from the existing lone congressional district to two congressional districts to ensure increased representation of the people in the province in the lower chamber and open the opportunity for the province to have a significant increase in its share from available government resources.
Mayor Palangdan asserted Benguet will reap more benefits in the proposed re-districting of the province contrary as against claim of critics that there will be no gains that could be achieved in such arrangement.
Under House Bill (HB) 6615, in the next local and national elections after the effectivity of the same, Benguet will be re-apportioned into two legislative districts, the first legislative district to be composed of the municipalities of Bokod, Itogon, Kabayan, Sablan and Tuba while the second legislative district shall be composed of the municipalities of Atok, Bakun, Buguias, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan and Tublay.
Yap’s proposed bill stipulated that the incumbent Representative of Benguet shall continue to represent and serve the lone district until the representatives for the two districts shall have been elected and qualified.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) shall issue the implementing rules and regulations to carry out the implementation of the law within 30 days from its approval.
At present, Benguet is politically divided into 13 municipalities and with the province’s soaring economy and growing population, the re-apportionment of the same is relevant to appropriately address the needs of its constituents.
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