DEPUTY Speaker and Cebu Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia (Cebu, Third District) has submitted 10 House bills (HB) during the first week of the 19th Congress, including a measure seeking to convert the midwestern Cebu town of Balamban into a component city.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Garcia said he had also filed HB 1019, which aims for provinces to get a fair share in the proceeds of real property taxes imposed by component cities.

He also submitted HB 1020, which seeks to transfer the power to declare a state of calamity in a local government unit to the local chief executive.

He also filed HB 1021, which seeks to legalize church annulment or dissolution of certain marriages.

Other bills that Garcia filed are HB 1022 or the Government Mobile Applications Act, HB 1023 or the Cooperative Banking Act, HB 1024 or the Smart Cities and Municipalities Act, HB 1025 or the Healthy Living Act, HB 1026 or the Tourism Rebound Act, and HB 1027 or the Protecting the Practice of Law Act.

Garcia said his bills are part of his legislative agenda to support Visayan development, strengthen local governance, boost educational, health and economic systems; and improve access, quality and administration of justice.

The third district of Cebu comprises Toledo City and the towns of Aloguinsan, Asturias, Balamban, Barili, Pinamungajan and Tuburan.

Fourth district

As for Rep. Janice Salimbangon of Cebu’s fourth district, improving educational facilities is among the priority bills she has filed in the 19th Congress.

Salimbangon told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, July 5, that she had filed eight bills at the start of the 19th Congress last week, of which six promoted educational empowerment.

The lawmaker said education is a very important factor in determining a nation’s growth and development level.

To develop the educational sector in the north even more, Salimbangon filed for the conversion of some extension campuses in several municipalities into satellite campuses of the province’s well-known state universities.

These are the conversion of the extension campus of Cebu Normal University in Medellin, and the extension campuses of Cebu Technological University in Bantayan, San Remigio, Tabogon and Tabuelan into satellite campuses of the given state universities.

Salimbangon believes that converting these extension campuses into satellite campuses will guarantee budgetary support from the annual General Appropriations Act, which will help these schools to build more needed infrastructure and hire more highly qualified personnel.

Salimbangon also filed a bill separating Tominjao National High School from Calape National High School in Daanbantayan, northern Cebu.

The congresswoman aims to make Tominjao an independent national high school, considering the reports of a consistent increase in its enrollees every year.

In the economic aspect, Salimbangon eyes to establish a special economic zone in Medellin to decongest the highly urbanized areas of Cebu.

She also proposed to change the name of Cebu’s 1st, 2nd and 4th District Engineering Offices to correspond to the numerical names of the congressional districts to avoid confusion in the minds of the transacting public. (JKV, HIC, PR)