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EDITORIAL: This plebiscite and beyond

No issue has so polarized the Palawan body politic in recent years as the subject matter of this Saturday’s plebiscite. Not since the electoral contests of local elections past have we witnessed a social policy discourse so intense, even so divisive.

Republic Act 11259 or the proposed division of Palawan province into three smaller and independent provinces will be put to the bar of public opinion in a poling exercise that will resolve the matter once and for all. Whatever the results, it shall define the current mindset or predilection of this generation.

Over the years since the idea was first broached in a caucus of political and community leaders, until it was forged into law and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte to pave the way for a plebiscite validation, Palawan News has doggedly followed this story. Aware of its significance in the historical narrative of the province, our newspaper judiciously chronicled each and all preceding events that brought us to this point. We are just not about to let this one final story pass.

The men and women of Palawan News will be on the field again in the next two days or more to witness and record history as it unfolds. The cost of coverage and technical constraints notwithstanding, our staff had decided this is a story we will cover with our best shot. We have thus decided to dig deep into whatever is left in our pockets at this trying economic times of the pandemic to give our readers and subscribers the unfiltered real-time story of the plebiscite and the proposition to divide the province into three.

In dogged adherence to the principle of independent journalism, we have not and will not endorse a vote on this one. But we have and will go out of our way to try and help objectify the issue for our audience, despite the toxic noise and inanities that have emerged from both sides of the fence, as we commit to the notion that an informed citizenry augurs well for a prosperous and dynamic community.

There will still be stories to tell when this plebiscite is over, including one that will portray how this community will pick up the pieces of the argument and move forward, either as hopeful stakeholders of three new and independent provinces or as a singular frontier blessed with abundant resources that can nourish everyone and more. To us at Palawan News, either way cuts both ways – so long as we, as a people, are smart enough to do what needs to be done and done right.

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