With the creation of a new congressional district in the province, our town is now in the third, well, the whole old second district was renamed new third district. It took effect when Republic Act 9716 was signed into law October 12th this year which reapportioned the first district of Camarines Sur province.
Concerned citizens raise alarm on the glaring disparity in the town, population grouping and distribution which was seen as an accommodation for the presidential son currently the adoptive congressman of the old first district, Dato Arroyo.
Come election this May 2010, the concurrent Budget secretary under the Arroyo presidency, will run for his old first congressional seat now occupied by the presidential son. With the division, both of them will have their own turf.
Constitutionalists and legal minds argue against the creation of a new district because it allegedly failed to meet the population requirement for a new one. Section 5-3, Article 6 of the Constitution requires a minimum population of 250,000 for a local government unit or clusters of LGUs to be declared a congressional district. Each district should be composed of a “continuous, compact, and adjacent territory.”
The old first district now divided in two- the new first legislative district comprises the towns of Del Gallego, Ragay, Lupi, Sipocot and Cabusao with total population of 176,383. The new second district covers the towns of Libmanan, Minalabac, Pamplona, Pasacao, San Fernando, Gainza and Milaor with a population of 276,777.
The third district groups Naga city, Pili, Ocampo, Camaligan, Canaman, Bombon, Calabanga and Magarao with a combined population of 439,035.
The fourth or Partido district has the towns of Caramoan, Garchitorena, Goa, Lagonoy, Presentacion, Sangay, San Jose, Tigaon, Tinambac, and Siruma and a population of 398,375.
The Rinconada or fifth district is composed of Iriga city and the municipalities of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Buhi, Bula, and Nabua. Total population is 428,990.
In the days old, Camarines Sur had only two districts- the first used to comprise all of the now new 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts. It was referred to as the River district owing to the fact the Bicol river and its tributaries flows on these areas. The old second division used to cover the towns that now belong to the new fourth and fifth districts – the Rinconada Partido areas.
Had there been proper planning, consultation, etc., Camarines Sur is eligible for 6.8 congressional seats, which in reality translates to 6 districts. The province has a population of 1, 693,821.