First District Board Member Winston G. Arzaga vehemently opposed the proposal of Senator Vicente Sotto III to establish an Alcatraz type of prison and facility in one of the islands of Palawan. Arzaga expressed this sentiment during privilege hour in the 139th Regular Session of the 41st Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
“Palawan has barely…I would say survived from the stigma of prison facility, of colony in the province of Palawan. I cannot comprehend a possible advantage,” he exclaimed.
It can be recalled that few days after election Sen. Sotto suggested constructing an Alcatraz-like detention facility for hardened criminals and high-level drug traffickers in one of the islands of Palawan. This is after Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte said that there might be a need to build a facility like the famous top-security federal detention in the United States to combat rampant drugs operations in the country.
BM Arzaga lamented that this proposal was made without consultation with the leadership of the province, especially if Palawan has an interest on this matter.
“Considering that the prime industry now is tourism, it will have an effect to our tourists, and to the province,” he added.
He solicited support among his colleagues in the Board to study further and make a firm stand on this matter.
Board Member David Francis Ponce de Leon shares the same thoughts with Arzaga. He said that “Sa San Francisco, tourist attraction ‘yan (Alcatraz-like prison) pero kasi wala na. Kaya hindi ko rin maintindihan bakit naman dito sa Palawan ‘yan gustong ilagay.” (“In San Francisco, that’s a tourist attraction, but that’s because it’s not operating anymore. That’s why I don’t understand why that should be set up here in Palawan.”
This issue is now referred to the SP’s Committee on Rules and Laws.