Quest in Palawan


So all those readings had already been done and a bill is already up for the partition of Palawan into three. Was it that quick? Did it really surprise us or were we just caught off-guard as we were collectively “natutulog sa pansitan”?

The issue has spawned more questions than answers. Thread of comments online has even more mushroomed to a whole lot of not just questions but confusions and doubts, not to mention, suspicions. Where do we go? And how should we go?

Herewith are my personal questions. I am also certain that still a bunch of Palaweños share these questions with me.

Is that it? There is no longer turning back or chance of overturning the bill? And we are just now headed to a plebiscite? If then, the ball is now in the hands of the electorate whether to say “yes” or “no”. Hindi pa tapos ang boksing.  (Is this supposed to be a relief? Will a “no” win mean the partition will not pull through”)

How does this concern me? I am from Puerto Princesa. I will definitely march to the precinct come plebiscite time. But will I be allowed too to vote? Why not? What law prohibits me? Whether I would be voting or not, there is certainly nothing that could stop me from speaking out and reaching out to my fellow Palaweños and to our parishioners to help them form their conscience and eventually decide. Am I correct?

And if and when I will indeed come out and sound off my take on the issue, how will my vote be assessed? Knowing how personality-oriented are our Filipino (much more Palaweno) psyche and culture, not only will my vote be evaluated but my person as well. To conform to the bill, will I be branded automatically as siding with Alvarez and his minions? Or that I am just in agreement with his proposal apart from his person? Or, when I go to the other side, will it make me an enemy of the Capitol? Reputation is also at stake, don’t you think so? And if by making the decision we could not distinguish from the being of the person then political maturity is still elusive in this place of the earth. And when there is no maturity, we are actually on our way to pandemonium. Kawawa ang mga tao.

Having said that, the way things are now the punches of the debate are already flying on person and personalities (argumentum ad hominem). In Philosophy, such an argument will not win any. It is fallacy. Opposing parties could just be hurting each other while wasting time and energy yet devoid of substantial conclusion. Nothing will be of true value. Pray that this will not go as far as argumentum ad baculum (argument through force). Otherwise, masasayang lang ang lahat.

But conspicuously absent are politicians who should be expected to join this fray of political debate (except for Art Ventura who always runs opposed to Jose Alvarez)? Why is this left to civil society now? Hence, the voice of Cynthia Sumagaysay-Del Rosario is fairly heroic. Will this be an epic case of gerrymandering? It has already been said by many, “E lahat naman kasi sila makikinabang e.” Everybody happy ba kamo? Your guess is as good as mine.

Going back to “pansitan”, when did we actually first heard of making Palawan into one region? The late Teddy Peña (may his soul rest in peace) got this brainchild several elections ago. Former Deputy Speaker Amor Abueg also noted that there were attempts during his time – resolutions in the provincial board and Congress as well. Former Vice Governor David Ponce de Leon did vouch as well of a resolution filed during his incumbency in the board. Obviously, the conception of the matter had been there for some time now, but what have we really done? How far have we gone discussing the matter?

Have we been pushing this issue to the sidelights, knowing that Palaweños will not take this matter seriously? But this time, we can no longer ignore the division of Palawan into three provinces; whether we like it or not, we now have to make a concrete stand, an enlightened one please, as an individual, as a Palaweño.

I want to end carving from my column of July 23, 2017 entitled “Quo vadis, Palawan?” – “Opposition…. could indeed surface along the way. Hence, any enlightened opposition must be welcome for it will certainly purify the intentions and clarify the plan. The question will keep on lingering, a question that will be encouraging but the same time disquieting…”

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