The provincial government is set to ask the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to postpone a scheduled plebiscite in May to resolve the issue of dividing Palawan into three separate smaller provinces.
The provincial legislature has called for a special session on Friday and is expected to pass a resolution allowing Governor Jose Alvarez to petition the COMELEC for the postponement of the plebiscite.
Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, in a letter notice to the provincial board, stated that the agenda was made upon the request of Governor Alvarez.
Earlier, the civil society group One Palawan opposing the planned division of the province also requested Malacañang to postpone the plebiscite.
“The huge amount of P80 million intended for the plebiscite can be used instead for more immediate needs of the people of Palawan. These are trying times and canceling the Palawan plebiscite will complement President Duterte’s recent declaration of public health emergency to combat COVID-19,” Cynthia Sumagaysay, a lead campaigner for One Palawan, stated in the group’s social media page.
The referendum was set to ratify Republic Act No. 11259 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 5, 2019, which partitions Palawan into three provinces namely Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur.
Under the law, Palawan del Norte will be composed of the municipalities of Coron, Culion, Busuanga, Linapacan, Taytay, and El Nido; Palawan Oriental by Roxas, Araceli, Dumaran, Cuyo, Agutaya, Magsaysay, Cagayancillo, and San Vicente; and Palawan del Sur by Aborlan, Narra, Quezon, Rizal, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Balabac, and Kalayaan.
The Capitol had set aside a budget of P80-million for the holding of the plebiscite.