First District Board Member Nieves is opposing the proposal to transfer the political affiliation of Kalayaan town to the 2nd congressional district.
In a privilege speech on Tuesday, Rosento cited national security concerns as the primary reason for her opposition, Kalayaan being situated in the West Philippine Sea which several other nations are also claiming as their territory.
“Hindi lingid sa ating kaalaman na pinagtatalunan ang lugar at ang bawat bansang umaangkin sa ating teritoryo ay may kanya-kanyang dahilan. Ngunit alam naman natin na hindi nagkukulang ang ating bansa sa paggiit ng ating teritoryo,” Rosento said.
“At sa paglipas ng panahon o ang masasabi nating unfortunate circumstances, naging agresibo ang mga kalapit bansa natin sa rehiyon at nagtatag ng kanilang militarized artificial island. Dahil dito, naging limitado ang galaw ng ating mga mangingisda at naging malaking issue ito ng national security ng ating bansa,” she added.
She also said that while she respects the motives of local government officials of Kalayaan, security should always be a primary concern.
“Ang panukalang ito ay bunsod ng pagsulong ng ilang mambabatas ng Kalayaan na may layuning mapadali ang mode of transportation dahil mayroong jump off point sa bayan ng Quezon,” she said.
She added the issue is premature to be discussed and that the matter does not only concern local government because it also involves national as well as international issues.
“Marapat lamang na bago natin hilingin sa kongreso ay kumunsulta muna tayo sa mga national government agencies na nakatalaga sa lugar – DND, AFP, PCG, BFAR. Sana ay maging holistic ang ating approach sa usaping ito at hinihiling ko na ipagpaliban muna natin ang pag-approve ng resolution sa paglilipat ng distrito,” she explained.
Board Member Ryan D. Maminta who authored the resolution in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan however said he does not see national security as a matter of concern.
Maminta filed the resolution requesting Rep. Jose C. Alvarez to file a bill in the House of Representatives transferring the town to the 2nd district in October 2022. The resolution was adopted after the report of the Committee on Local Government.
“As far as the issue on West Philippine Sea is concerned, palaging may national security threat because of contending parties. However, the transfer of congressional district, wala akong nakikitang security threat kasi ililipat mo lang naman yung distrito,” Maminta explained.
He said geographically, the town has been associating itself with the 2nd district and has an office in Quezon which is in the 2nd district.
“Yun ang gusto nilang ma-develop sa Barangay Berong as launching area para sa delivery of basic services sa mga constituents natin sa Kalayaan. Right now, the local government of Kalayaan is doing everything para maka-acquire ng property at maging teritoryo nila sa bahagi ng mainland Palawan,” he said.
“In fact, the local government of Kalayaan is working hand in hand with the municipal government of Quezon and that of Brgy. Berong to acquire a certain parcel of land within mainland Palawan,” he added.
In 2014, Kalayaan opened an extension office in Berong called the Kalayaan Resource Center, which serves as a transit point to Pag-asa Island. This was done to meet a long-term need to improve access (in and out) and mobility of goods, people, and services to Pag-asa and the rest of the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
He also said that the town has been taking part in events like the annual Civil Service Southern Palawan Friendship Meet and has made several partnerships with towns in the 2nd Congressional District. Even civil and criminal cases in the town are being filed and tried in Quezon Municipal Circuit Trial Court.