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Otso Diretso senatorial hopefuls Atty. Florin “Pilo” Hilbay and Atty. Chel Diokno said the decision to divide the province into three smaller government units lies in the hands of Palaweños.
Hilbay, who was here early in the week for the Banwa: 2019 Senatorial Forum, said Palaweños should find out if the division will benefit them and weigh its pros and cons to be able to seriously participate in making the decision.
“Para kanino ba hinahati ang Palawan, para ba sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan o para sa ibang tao? Sa tingin ko napaka-importante na magkaroon ng malawak na partisipasyon ‘yong mga taga-Palawan dahil kayo ‘yong maaapektuhan ng kahit anong pagbabago dyan sa Palawan,” Hilbay pointed out.
He said stakeholders must have “a loud voice” on the issue that will affect them.
There is a need to know who will benefit from splitting Palawan into three provinces, adding the move involves “very high stakes for the protection of natural resources, the rights of indigenous people and communities, and the promotion of the potential on economic development.”
“Whether or not, in the end, makakatulong ang paghahati ng Palawan, it’s a matter for Palaweños to decide not just for the politicians here and in Manila,” he added.
Mench Diokno who represented senatorial bet Atty. Chel Diokno, said Palaweños must consider several questions about the division.
“Maraming tanong na kailangan sagutin doon. One is nakonsulta ba kayo noong ginawa ito, ‘yan ‘yong isang tanong ko. Sana man lang ang pagkonsulta ay inilagay sa maayos na proseso. Anong mangyayari sa paghahati ng resources? And the other question is may matitira bang utang at sino ang sasalo ng utang?” Diokno said.
Diokno said the law should be reviewed because of its consequences.
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) organized the first senatorial forum in the province to aid voters in gaining knowledge on the stand of the candidates.
Fr. Jasper Lahan, PPCRV provincial chair, said senatorial candidates should also consider Palaweños in their programs and platforms if they are elected as officials.
“Makita natin kung ano nga ba ang nilalaman ng kanilang mga kalooban na kung saan tayo nga ba ay kabahagi, tayo ba ay kabahagi ng kanilang mga plataporma, tayo ba ay kino-consider nila, ang boses ba natin ay naririnig nila?” Lahan said.
He added that the senatorial forum will be followed by another activity on May 10 and 11 as part of their political education for voters.
The Banwa: The 2019 Senatorial Forum is co-organized by the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)- Puerto Princesa City and Palawan NGO Network Inc (PNNI).