Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Pang'nan's congressional districts, more monies

Government project funded by the P70 million
Pork Barrel


 Last July 29, I diligently observed the public consultation undertaken by the Sanguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) on the implication of redistricting or legislative apportionment in Pangasinan.
 Many spectators were there, including some board members who did not make their home work, (like reading the two pages annotation of the Philippine Constitution by Lawyer Hector de Leon on apportionment vis-a-vis Section 5 (4) of Article VI), and who were still at a loss on the advantages and disadvantages of redistricting.
 To cut short my verbiage: Adding two more congressional districts in the humongous province Pangasinan has more advantages.
First, two legislative district means P70 million each from the Priority Development Allocation Fund or the controversial “Pork Barrel” or P140 million for Pangasinan from both of them;
 Second, striking out the more than 200 thousand populated city of San Carlos in the present aggrupation of towns like Bayambang, Calasiao, Malasiqui, Mapandan, and San Barbara in the Third Congressional District means Representative Baby Arenas’ PDAF can benefit more of her constituents in terms of school buildings, roads, books, scholarships.

That’s why I ribbed a resource person, a distinguished member of the BAR who sported a coat & tie, after I bumped into him at the ground floor of the stately American era provincial Capitol.
 “Sir, I appreciated your being poetic by quoting an American adage “If ain’t broken, why fix it”. But we were not talking at the August Chamber about the already stable six congressional districts in Pangasinan .What we are in after are proportional representation and the advantages of an additional P140 million pork barrel for infrastructure in the province that has been abandoned by President Aquino (Read the SONA 2013) after his gubernatorial bet did not win in the poll".
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 Another member of the Board poses during the hearing of redistricting: “What will happen if two of the six members of Congress oppose the redistricting of the province?”
I cringed in my seat with broadcaster RJ - who thought that NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency) and Wharton (School of Economics at Harvard University) of news scribe Orly Guirao and former Congressman Ranjit Shahani was a woman who has a tryst with Orly and the War Tones of his (RJ,s) cell phone.
 “That Board Member should know, as what students of political science know that Congress in general decides despite the opposition of congressmen in the province that would be affected by the redistricting,” I whispered to RJ of Home Radio.
 “Besides, before Congress can enact a law on legislative apportionment, Pangasinenses would ratify first if they want more redistricting,” another media man opined.
 “No, ratification is only for barangays or town that wants to be town or city respectively. Or towns that want to be a province,” I butted proudly by telling him that I read that on the papel na ginawang pambalot ng tinapa given by media man Harold Barcelona.

 After the session attended by political dignitaries like former congressman Mark Cojuangco, Abono Party Chairman Rosendo So, San Carlos City Mayor Ayoy Resuello, Mayors League President Noel Nacar, Calasiao Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay, I met in front of the Capitol San Carlos City’s Vice Mayor Bogs Resuello who asked me:
 “ What will happen to the terms of incumbent congressmen affected by the reduction of the district?” I opined: Rep. Gina de de Venecia remains. She ends her term after she wins the 2016 post. The stricken-out town of San Jacinto that will be transferred to the Third Congressional District does not disturb Gina’s term. The same too with Rep. Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas in case she seeks reelection in 2016 and 2019 (that’s if daughter former solon Rachel make a comeback as I wrote in my earlier column) as her residence Malasiqui remains with the Third Congressional District. It’s a different story with Rep.Marlyn Agabas-Primicias, a resident of San Nicolas. In case she wins the 2016 election, she starts a new term Seventh Congressional District where San Nicolas was grouped in Option 1 with Balungao, San Manuel, San Quintin, Santa Maria, Tayug, Nativida, and Umingan, or grouped in Option 2 with Rosales, Balungao, San Quintin, San Maria, Tayug, Natividad, and Umingan.
 Iskol Bukol University named Atong Remogat asked.


“How about Board Members like Raul Sison and Nino Arboleda who whined that they do not want their towns (Urbiztondo for Raul, Alcala for Nino) whisked away from the 2nd and 5th congressional district because it would be a kiss of death in case they seek re-election in a district that they did not belong to in the past elections?” a professor from
“Siempri madali lang iyan, Raul and Nino can change their residence to the district where most of the towns of their old district belong.
The law says one year residence and registration as voter there qualifies one to become a candidate for an office there,” another professor of vulcanizing from Wanbol University opined.
(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at

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