Most councilors of Puerto Princesa City have expressed support to the proposed division of Palawan, some even vowing to join the information campaign of the provincial government pushing for its ratification in next year’s plebiscite.
Councilor Matthew Mendoza said residents of Puerto Princesa City cannot vote in the plebiscite as a highly-urbanized city, separate from the provincial government.
“Para sa akin, technically speaking, kung tayo ay component city pa ng province ay oo [dapat tayong bumuto] pero ‘yong time na hindi na tayo part ng province, naging independent city tayo. Ang karapatan natin para bumoto ay wala na rin, hindi na tayo bumuboto ng governor, board members kasi nagsarili na tayo. Kung tututusin, kung naghiwalay tayo sa province hindi rin natin sila kinonsulta, hindi rin natin sila pinaboto, tayo-tayo lang ang bumoto,” Mendoza said.
He said they will, however, help in explaining the pros and cons in the proposed creation of the three provinces.
Mendoza claimed that having a smaller province will help expedite economic development as officials will handle smaller areas.
For his part, Councilor Roy Ventura also supported the move citing the prospects of fast economic growth.
He said Puerto Princesa City will also benefit from it, claiming it will host the establishment of regional offices.
He said the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) of the city will not be affected and representative in Congress will have its own budget allocation for Puerto Princesa City which is currently equally shared with the town of Aborlan, Ventura added.
Opposition councilor Jimbo Maristella for his part said he will let the Supreme Court (SC) decide if residents of Puerto Princesa City should be allowed to vote during the plebiscite set on May 2020.
Earlier, Richard Ligad, city information officer said in a statement that the city government will not interfere with the issue of creating three provinces because Puerto Princesa City is already an independent city.
“Since na hindi naman involved ang Puerto Princesa sa usaping ito at napakarami pa ang kailangan nating harapin at gawin sa lungsod. Ayaw naman nating makisawsaw dito sa usapin. Kasi nga tayo ay highly urbanized city at iyan ay naisabatas na. So, anong reason? Depende na lang kapag sinabi ng korte na kasali kayo dyan o mag-react kayo dyan, e pupwede pero since na hindi ka naman kasali, kumbaga, ‘wag ka nang dumagdag pa sa init doon sa kumukulong tubig,” Ligad said.