PALAWAN-To Divide or not to Divide?

I once heard a joke saying “Uy hindi na pala tayo taga Palawan, magiging Palathree na”. I found the joke a little bit corny but I tried to trace where it came from. There I realized that the proposal to divide Palawan into three provinces has once again emerged. This time, not only at the provincial board, but in the committee level of the House of Representatives.

While it makes “sense” that Pala-one will become Pala-three should the province will really be divided into Palawan del Sur, Palawan del Norte and Palawan Central, to get the nod from Malacanang which pushes for Federal form of government says otherwise.

I remember that this is not new to Palawan. In the late 90’s, dividing Palawan was already discussed among provincial officials but it never really got to pass the necessary enabling law even at the Lower House. In early 2000, this issue arose again in the provincial board, but for some reason, it was shelved again.

Meanwhile, just a word of thanks to my former colleagues in the Provincial Board, as well as our distinguished Representatives in Congress who happens to be my former colleagues also in the 40th Sanggunian. “THANK YOU distinguished gentlemen for crafting such a landmark legislation for PALAWAN and for your continued dedicated public service to your beloved constituents, our fellow Palawenos”.

Authors of this proposed bill believes that dividing the province into three smaller provinces will allow their respective local governments to improve the delivery of basic services to its citizens.

But me thinks, this is not a “1+1=2” equation. The division will result to better public services is just too simple, for surely we all should know that things are more complicated than they are.

I am wondering how many of us, Palawenos know about this. Some of us either don’t know, know a bit but don’t care, or too busy to mind. Or maybe we trust so much our leaders that what they are doing is for common good?

I have read some bashing in Facebook about the proposed bill, but no one has been vocally and formally expressed opposition in the House Bill. We cannot just conclude that since no one is formally complaining, that everybody is agreeing.

I hope that there will be public consultations or some sort of a referendum to gather wide support for the proposal to encourage an open discussion and allow the citizenry to make an informed decision. I am certain there are more questions that can be raised, if only all the stakeholders of Palawan are allowed to ask, understand and agree whether to divide Palawan or not.

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