Experts agree on proposal to add congressional districts in Davao City

(Drone shot by Mark Perandos)

EXPERTS deemed Davao City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang’s proposal for additional congressional district as necessary due to the city’s increasing population, however, it must undergo thorough deliberation.

Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) political analyst Prof. Ramon Beleno III told SunStar Davao he agrees with Dayanghirang’s proposal that aims to distribute the services and programs to its constituents.

“Mas maraming representatives means closer ang representation ng mga tao sa kanilang district kasi mas marami na sila ngayon. Di natin need maghati-hati to a smaller piece of pie. Marami na tayo pagkunan ng budget and sources due to political representation (The more congressional representatives means closer representation to their districts since they are already many in number. We won’t have to share a smaller piece of pie since there is a bigger budget and sources due to political representation),” Beleno said.

However, he said dividing the existing three-district set up would have to undergo series of consultation from constituents.

The political expert said that, admittedly, the plan would entail additional cost such as adding members to the House Representatives and their personnel who also need to be compensated.

“As to the possibility of corruption, for me it’s not a problem. If you assume all congressmen are actually corrupt, let’s just give the benefit of the doubt because corruption would depend on the person you actually voted,” Beleno said.

Based on the 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Davao City has a total of 1,632,991 population. First district has the most number of residents with 592,736, followed by second district with 592,250, and third district with 452,781.

Beleno said the first district is the most viable area to be divided since most highly commercial activities are located in the area.

“Pag-aralan nila, if it would be efficient na hatiin natin, would it be practical to have more representatives,” Beleno said.

“Gaano ba kalaki na resources (and funds) na makukuha natin if mahiwalay? Or mas OK na isa muna since di pa siya gaano kalaki para maramdaman ang hati-hati na legislation,” Beleno added.

He, however, said that the city is still “doing fine” despite the “slight” congressional set-up the city is currently having.

In case the proposal pushes through, he said a “bottom up approach” in budgeting should be strengthened by including all stakeholders in the budget deliberation based on the necessary services and intervention the district needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile, academic instructor Adrian Tamayo said the proposed additional congressional district would complement the proposed Metro Davao Urban Masterplan, wherein both aim to widely distribute the economic resources and growth to the farthest areas of the city.

Tamayo also said that having more districts could shorten the covered areas, which means “more access to services”.

“It goes with the principle of having a small government is an efficient government, if we are to look the district as a format of government,” he said.

He also said the people would still decide on the matter.

Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, for his part, said there should be a gradual division.

“Okay man ko, wala man ko’y problema kung kinahanglan gyud pero siguro kay iya mang gi ingun nga tulo, mahimo tang six districts (I don’t see any problem if there’s a need to divide the city into six districts),” the vice mayor said during a press briefing at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

“Magsugod siguro tag isa para mas manageable. Pero wala may problema ana since dako kaayo ang Davao unya nagkadaghan ang tao (But I guess we need to start at adding one (district) so that it would be manageable for now. But as I said, I have nothing against it since the city’s population is growing),” the vice mayor added.


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