Hataman eyes division of Basilan into two districts

Published October 26, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman has filed a bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to divide the lone congressional district of Basilan into two legislative districts.

Hataman filed House Bill 10407, or “An Act Reapportioning the Lone District of the Province of Basilan Thereby Creating the First (1st) and Second (2nd) Legislative Districts of Basilan.” The said measure proposes the division of Basilan into the following: first legislative district – Isabela City and the municipalities of Lantawan, Maluso, Hadji Muhtamad, and Tabuan-Lasa; and second legislative district – Lamitan City and the municipalities of Akbar, Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburan, Ungkaya Pukan, Sumisip and Al-Barka.

“Dahil hindi tayo tumigil sa ating pagsisikap na makamit ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa ating mahal na Basilan, nabiyayaan tayo ng paglago ng isa sa pinakamahalagang likas-yaman ng ating lalawigan: ang ating mga mamamayan (Because we never stopped in our efforts to achieve peace and prosperity in our beloved Basilan, we have been blessed with the growth of one of the natural treasures in our province: our citizens),” said the Basilan lone district congressman.

“Habang umuunlad ang Basilan dulot ng pinaghirapan nating kapayapaan, dumadami ang gustong manirahan dito at kumukonti ang gustong umalis. Wala nang takot, wala nang pangamba. May seguridad ang kabuhayan at hanap-buhay. Kaya naman malaki ang paglago ng populasyon.” (With our peaceful efforts bringing progress to Basilan, many are now coming to live here while a few are now leaving. There is no fear and anxiety. Our livelihood and jobs are secured. Thus we have a huge growth in population) “At habang lumalaki ang bilang ng mga Basileño, lumalaki din ang pangangailangan sa serbisyo publiko. Kaya napapanahon na para magkaroon ng dalawang kinatawan ang Basilan sa Kongreso upang matugunan ang mga pangangailangan ito at mas matutukan ang pag-unlad ng mga lugar dito (And while our Basileño are growing in number, our need for public service also grows. So it is now time for Basilan to have two representatives in Congress to meet these needs and fully focus on the development of this region),” added Hataman, a former governor of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In his explanatory note on HB 10407, Hataman cited Article VI, Section 5, Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which mandates that “each legislative district shall comprise, as far as practicable, contiguous, compact and adjacent territory. Each city with a population of at least two hundred fifty thousand, or each province, shall have at least one representative. Within three years following the return of every census, the Congress shall make a reapportionment of legislative districts based on the standards provided in this section.” “The province of Basilan is an island province situated within BARMM. It is the fourth largest in terms of land area in the region, and is currently politically subdivided into two component cities and eleven municipalities,” Mindanao lawmaker said.

“As of May 1, 2020, the total population of Basilan is 556,586 including Isabela City. The same Census indicates that the population of Basilan grew the fastest in the last five years. In terms of annual growth rate, Sulu recorded the highest rate at 4.14%, followed by Basilan (including Isabela City) at 4.12%. Excluding Isabela City, Basilan registered a record high of 4.45% growth rate.” “In keeping with the above-mentioned cases and in consonance with the Constitutionally-enshrined mandate of democratic and proportional representation, the bill therefore proposes to reapportion the province of Basilan into two legislative districts,” the solon from Basilan Province added.

“The bill is envisioned to empower Basileños by ensuring their equal participation and representation in national legislation through their duly-designated representatives.” (Melvin Sarangay)