The resurgent move to divide Palawan into three provinces and create a Palawan Region has gained tremendous support with Gov. JCA himself among its most ardent proponents. Under the plan, the present 2nd congressional district will be the nucleus of a new province in the South, while the 1st district will be further divided into two provinces. taking into consideration the peculiar geographical location of its municipalities.
How the division will play out in the House will largely depend on the compliance of these proposed LGUs to the basic requirements of population, land area and income. The proponents may also look into the homogeneity of the population and its ethnicity as a measure of social cohesion, which are as important as those required by law for the eventual success of new LGUs.
It must be the Governor’s realization that the vast expanse of Palawan and its dispersed islands have made effective governance a daily challenge. Notwithstanding his personal air assets which allow him to hop from one point of the province to another, still there are areas in the province which are simply too difficult to reach. Think of Agutaya and Cagayancillo and you have places which could only be visited with ease during certain time of the year.
Needless to say, development of these towns are agonizingly slow. Because LGUs are centrally structured, leaders and government managers resort to “management by wandering around”. One of such approaches is the program of the Provincial Government to bring a complete bundle of basic services to some of our remotest islands under the “Baragatan Sa Barangay” program. While highly effective, nothing could really compare to the sustained development efforts of smaller provinces which could implement programs with focused attention – and at lesser cost to the taxpayers.
And while we are vigorously pushing for the division of Palawan, let’s not try our luck too much by insisting on the simultaneous creation of a Palawan Region. That would be more than having our own cake and eating it, too. Navigating the Bill for the creation of three new provinces is a big challenge to the parliamentary skills and ingenuity of our Representatives in Congress, lead by Deputy Speaker Erick Abueg and Representatives Chikoy Alvarez and Gil P. Acosta, Let’s not complicate matters for them by riding a Palawan Region.
This will certainly invite opposition from MIMARO congressmen whose fledgling aggrupation will be severely affected. It would be more strategic to channel all our audacity for the creation of the new provinces.
There’s a time for everything, and a Palawan Region could be a reality once our new provinces are all in place. With President Duterte’s shift to a Federal Parliamentary form of government, a Federal State of Palawan will no longer be an impossible obsession but a reachable dream.
And If you think our leaders are just paying lip service to it, don’t look now, but Gov. JCA , in a meeting with some Board members, surprised everyone with a blue print for the Federal Building of the State of Palawan. How big is the building? Well, it has a two- level underground parking that could easily accommodate One thousand vehicles!
That’s putting one’s mind- and money – where your heart is.