visayas.politics.com.ph

House approves bill dividing Aklan into two districts

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives recently approved on third reading a proposed measure which seeks the reapportion of Aklan into two legislative districts.

The bill authored by the Aklan Lone District Rep. Carlito Marquez will upgrade the current representation of the province “to enhance the implementation of government services and ensure proper delivery of service to the Aklanons.”

Under the bill, the First Legislative District of Aklan shall be composed of the municipalities of Altavas, Balete, Banga, Kalibo, New Washington, Libacao, and Madalang.

On the other hand, the Second Legislative District shall be composed of the municipalities of Buruanga, Ibajay, Lezo, Makato, Malay, Malinao, Nabas, Numancia and Tangalan. Boracay Island shall be part of the Second District, being within the town of Malay.

The said measure has reportedly the backing of all local political families of Aklan such as the Miraflores, Calizo, Quimpo and Haresco.

The division of the province into two legislative districts is pursuant to Section 5, Article 4 of the 1987 Constitution which provides that a city or a province with a population of at least 250,000 shall have at least one representative in Congress.

Aklan’s population has reached 574,823 as of 2015.

Marquez said additional representation would provide Aklanons with “more voice in the legislature to promote the interest of the province.”

Records of the Department of Finance, show Aklan ranked first out of 80 provinces in the Philippines in terms of its share of local income to total regular income, with a 45.3 rating.

Income from Boracay Island, a major international and local tourist attraction helped Aklan generate a substantial P491.755 million in local revenues out of its P1.086 billion total regular income.

Last April 26, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the temporary closure of Boracay for six months to pave way for the island’s rehabilitation due to the alleged violations by establishments of environmental and zoning laws as well as the reported polluted waters which the chief executive describe as “cesspool.”

Around 986,000 foreign tourists visited Boracay in 2017.

Formerly a part of Capiz, Aklan became an independent province when former President Ramon Magsaysay approved Republic Act 1414 in 1956.