REP. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south district) is appealing for his successor to revive the plan to create a third district, which he proposed but failed to advance because one district does not meet the required population.
By now, the city should have around 800,000 residents, which will be enough to create a third congressional district.
He, however, acknowledged the plan needs the cooperation of the north district, as it involves placing all mountain barangays under one district.
“It’s now feasible because for sure the population has reached the crucial 800,000. Divide that by three, we will have more than 250,000 each, which should entitle the city to have three congressional districts,” he said.
Cuenco last year filed House Bill 5702, which sought to create a third congressional district in the City of Cebu.
He has argued that the population requirement can be interpreted in two ways. The law states at least one district can be created for a place with a population of 250,000.
For him, it means that not just one district could be created in an area populated by 250,000, and there are already precedents upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Cebu City Council, however, passed a resolution objecting to HB 5702, arguing that a new district will cause one of the older districts to fall short of the population requirement.
The city council also said a new district would mean additional expenses, since it entails the creation of eight more seats in the city council.
According to the resolution, a new legislative district requires a “contiguous, compact and adjacent territory” and a population of at least 250,000.
Under the bill, sup-posedly under review by the Senate committee on local government, the proposed third district meets the population requirement of 250,000.
The second legislative district, however, would be left with a total population of just 173,680.
Cuenco said that Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s initial plan to annex Cordova town and make it part of the south district would have solved the problem, but added that as of the moment, it is a “tall order.”
Downgrading Cordova town into a barangay and making it part of Cebu City requires the concurrence of the Cebu Provincial Government.
“Assuming mosugot sila (Assuming the governor and the Provincial Board agree), there is another problem. There is the provision of the Local Government Code that states the areas should be contiguous or adjacent. That is why that (annexing Cordova to Cebu City) is a tall order as of this time,” the congressman said.
He said he hopes that if Jonathan Guardo wins, the businessman will move for the creation of a third district.
Guardo’s rival Mayor Osmeña, Cuenco said, has long supported the move.