Gov. JCA’s Congress blitz insures passage of division bill

If ever the history of Palawan’s division is written, one event will certainly stand out as the tipping point which hastened its realization. I refer to the January 16, 2018 courtesy call made by all of Palawan’s officials on the leaders of Congress, first on Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez at the Batasan, and later in the afternoon, on Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III at his Senate Office.  Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez was joined by Palawan’s three Representatives in Congress and by all Members of the Provincial Board, saved for BM Sunny Batul.

As explained by the Governor before the officials left for Manila, the courtesy call was something we don’t have to do, but it would certainly help if Congress leaders are made aware of our initiatives before the Bill is finally filed in the Lower House.  After all, it is not just an ordinary measure which you could allow to gather dust at the Congressional Archives. Rather, it is a document that embodies the hopes and dreams of a generation that has seen how a government could be paralyzed by sheer bigness.

Gov. JCA was in his element explaining the reasons for Palawan’s division, and at one point during the meeting, Speaker Alvarez observed that seldom could you find a governor who would partitioned off his province. This goes against the grain of politicians’ insatiable thirst for power. It was Senate President Pimentel, however, who stressed the difficulty of governing a big province like Palawan that even a Governor like JCA with several “air assets will find difficult to micromanage.

From the Senate President’s office, Palawan’s leaders proceeded to the Session Hall where most Senators have gathered that afternoon. The Governor lost no time working on them, effectively getting adherents for the proposed division of the province. Noteworthy was the deferential attention the legislators gave the Governor, befitting his stature both as an official and as a recognized business and industry leader.

It was, by all account, a PR blitz like no other. With its success, Deputy Speaker Erick Abueg, and Reps. Chicoy Alvarez and Gil Acosta, will have an easier time sheep herding the measure in the Lower House. And in the Senate, the groundswell of support assures its passage.

It’s all in a day’s work. What’s left now is for the leaders to win the hearts and minds of Palaweños who will vote on it in a plebiscite, perhaps in 2019.

And that’s when the real battle begins.


AND BY THE WAY:  Brooke’s Point Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano was the only local chief executive who had joined the Governor’s team to Manila. Call it providential or pure luck, but the feisty Mayor was at the Capitol at the right time when the Governor and the Board members were in a huddle finalizing details of the courtesy calls on Congress leaders. The Governor then requested the Mayor to join the meeting and eventually inviting her to join the trip itself, which was propitious for her efforts to obtain congressional endorsement for Mt. Matalinghaan’s inclusion in the World’s Heritage Sites.


BRIEFLY NOTED:  Mayor Jean is one of the bright stars of southern Palawan politics owing to her unblemished record and her no- nonsense management of the affairs of Brooke’s Point.  Her running battle with a local mining company has also highlighted her tenacity and fortitude as a leader. With a new province soon to emerge down South, I am certain the Mayor will be an indispensable player in charting the course of the new LGU.

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