GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews)–Officials here are pushing for the passage by the House Representatives next month of a bill that seeks the creation of a lone congressional or legislative district for the city.
South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acha-ron Jr. said Thursday the support for House Bill (HB) 5162 has been gaining ground and it could be approved on third and final reading when their ses-sions resume on May 2.
HB 5162 provides for the separation of the city from the first legislative district of South Cotabato to constitute a lone legis-lative district.
It substituted HB 4678, which was filed by Acha-ron on December 13 last year and immediately re-ferred by the House com-mittee on rules to the com-mittee on local government.
The bill was endorsed by the committee on local government, which is chaired by Acharon, on February 28 and was ap-proved at the House ple-nary on second reading on March 8.
“It’s now lined up for final approval at the (House) plenary,” Acharon told reporters.
Once transmitted to the Senate, he said Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has signified to sponsor and facilitate the passage of its counterpart measure.
Acharon, a former city mayor, noted that the sepa-ration of the city as a lone congressional district is “long overdue.”
He said the city had long been qualified to have its own district and seat in the House of Representa-tives.
Being an independent chartered city, he said the local government had not been reporting to the go-vernor (of South Cotabato) but directly to the President
“Just like the city’s independent status, it should stand alone as a congressional district,” he said.
Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles reiterated her support for the passage of HB 5162.
Nograles, City Coun-cilor Franklin Gacal Jr. and Sangguniang Panglunsod Secretary, Atty. Rosendo Roque, had represented the city in the committee hearings.
“For over 21 years, the city council has passed numerous resolutions requesting Congress to pass a law for the creation of a lone district for the city,” she said. MindaNews