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Gerrymandering: Senate OKs GenSan exit from South Cotabato, new Southern Leyte, Isabela legislative districts

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By Xave Gregorio

The Senate approved three bills Monday (September 3) which removed General Santos City from the province of South Cotabato to constitute its own legislative district and created new legislative districts for the provinces of Southern Leyte and Isabela.

In a 17-0 vote, the Senate passed House Bill No. 5162, which seeks to separate General Santos City from the first legislative district of South Cotabato to constitute the lone legislative district of General Santos City.

“Now that more opportunities in tourism and agriculture are opening in this city, it was important for GenSan to have a strong voice in the national government, as well as a new and separate representative who would serve the city’s interests,” Senate local government committee chair Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said in a statement.

Meanwhile, HB No. 6331, which was approved by the Senate in an 18-0 vote, seeks to split Southern Leyte into two legislative districts.

The province was split “in consideration of [its] size,” Angara said.

Likewise, HB No. 7778, wants to add two more legislative districts to Isabela, from the existing four.

“By increasing the number of legislative districts in the province, the people of Isabela would be given more opportunities to participate and be heard in issues of public importance,” Angara said.