By Marie Tonette Marticio
TACLOBAN City – Top officials in Southern Leyte believe the creation of a new legislative district in the province will help boost its growth.
Rep. Roger Mercado said the province would benefit from the formation of the new district in terms of policy making and approval of development plans.
“I am gratified to our President for approving this landmark legislation. Congress is a place where the voice of the people can be heard and expressed. This means a lot to us because there will be two voices that will represent our province,” Mercado said.
He authored House Bill 6331, which was signed by President Duterte as Republic Act (RA) No. 11198, dividing the lone district of Southern Leyte into two districts.
Southern Leyte was part of Leyte province in the 1960s.
Under the measure, the first district composed of its capital Maasin City, Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Limasawa, Malitbog, Sogod, Tomas Oppus, and Bontoc.
The second district will be made up of Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, Saint Bernard, Anahawan, San Juan, Hinundayan, Hinunangan, and Silago.
Earlier, Vice Governor Christopherson Yap said having two congressional districts would help them deliver efficient services to the people.
“It would be easier for us to know the needs of our people because we can hold office in the two districts so they would no longer need to go to Maasin to reach us,” Yap said.
Mercado added that the new law signifies that the province has improved its economy; its population has increased; and its land area is big enough to have two districts.
Based on the 2015 census, Southern Leyte has a population of 421,750, almost double the 250,000 requirement for the creation of a legislative district.
Meanwhile, Mercado said that the elected representative in the May elections will serve as the caretaker of the two districts until they are able to elect two representatives in 2022.