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Palaweño netizens and citizens were divided after the Senate and the House passed the bill dividing Palawan into three provinces.
Erlinda Ganapin of Palawan State University is opposed arguing that as the last frontier, Palawan does not need more politicians to exploit its resources but is needing someone to protect it. “Actually, I am not in favor of dividing Palawan. It is the country’s last ecological frontier. It is protected by a special law, which is the only in the country and perhaps in world, (Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan or SEP Law).
Palawan does not need more politicians who will continuously exploit its natural resources. Palawan needs leaders who will protect it from the claws of self- serving politicians,” she said. She added that the exemption of Palawan in the plebiscite is also a big “no-no” to her for it is lacking with the genuine consultancy of Palawenos. “The bill has already passed through the House and Senate.
It will just wait for the President’s signature for it to become a law. A plebiscite will be held. Why exclude the Puerto Princesans in the plebiscite?” she asked. A group called “Save Palawan Movement” also opposed for the division of Palawan due to lack of public consultation in Palawan.
Cynthia Sumagaysay-del Rosario, co-convenor of the Save Palawan Movement and spokesperson of the One Palawan campaign, said, “What happened in the Senate was not a fair fight. One senator even had the guts to reveal to us that his dad is a very good friend of the governor of Palawan. I retorted – ‘how about doing what is right?’ I realized firsthand, however naive, how doing the right thing is only true for a very few. In fact, only one stood for Palawan until the end, Senator Risa Hontiveros.”
However, City Councilor Henry Gadiano thinks the move to divide Palawan is feasible to the province’s geography and location, and is a wise decision for the government. He stated that there are advantages and disadvantages with this move but the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages.
“It is a welcome move and I would like to think its for the good of Palawan in general considering the geography and location of the splintered nature of the islands. Administration wise it is wiser. Everything has its imperfections including this new plan but I believe the advantages will outweight the disadvantages as a whole,” Gadiano explained. This is also supported by Patrick Yap, a graduating Petroleum Engineering student of PSU, who said that the division and creation of three capitols in Palawan will lessen the “hassle” of going to Puerto Princesa just to get a document from the government.
“In my opinion, it would be beneficial to those living in the remote areas sa north and south since it would be easy for them to coordinate with the government. Yung mga nakatira sa mga malalayong lugar hindi na nila kailangang bumiyahe to Puerto Princesa City just in order to acquire government issued documents such as birth certificates and etc. Tapos pagdating nila dito offline yung Philippine Statistics Authority and pababalikin sila next week, hindi ba hassle sa kanila yun?” he said.