Palawan, one of the provinces in the Philippines most known for its majestic scenery and healthy-looking beaches. In one time, Palawan has been visited by millions of people springing from different parts of the Globe.
Recently, our dear President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law which will divide the province into three (3) independent and distinct provinces.
What effect will this have in the current stature Palawan is currently in? Could this have impacts in the tourism of the province—specifically the western Luzon area?
What is the law that would part Palawan into three (3) different regions?
Republic Act (R.A.) Number 111259, the province will now be parted into the following: Palawan del Norte, Palawan del Sur, and Palawan Oriental. In this new provision, Palawan del Sur shall be the mother province.
According to the law, the respective provinces will have and will be comprised of different laws.
The terrestrial jurisdictions of the newly created provinces shall be within the present metes and bounds of all the municipalities that comprise the respective provinces.”
Last 5th of April year 2019, President Duterte approved the specific measure and will be deemed effective fifteen (15) days after it has been publicized in a newspaper of local circulation or in the Official Gazette of the Philippines.
These new provinces shall be required to have a plebiscite which will be held on the second Monday of May in the year 2020—they will be supervised and monitored by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Meanwhile, each of these provinces will have legislative districts which will take effect when the qualification and election of representatives take place—also on the second Monday of May in the year 2020.
What happens to the world famous Puerto Pricensa City?
Under this provision, Puerto Princesa City will hold its own district in the same year. More so, the residents shall not be eligible to vote in the 2020 plebiscite and for the candidates in the elective positions for the provincial region.
On the other hand, representatives of the province currently will continue to represent their respective districts until new representatives are elected, qualified, and assumed to give service.
When did this get passed?
President Rodrigo Duterte signed it on the 5th of April 2019. However, the House of Representatives passed this measure on the 29th of August 2018. It was then amended by the Senate on the 19th of November 2018 and was concurred with amendments by the House, lastly, on the 23rd of January, 2019.
Each of these three (3) new provinces will have their own:
- Provincial Governor
- Vice Governor
- Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary
- Provincial Treasurer
- Budget Officer
- Planning and Development Coordinator
- Legal Officer
- Health Officer
- General Services Officer
- Social Welfare and Development Officer
In addition to that, these new provinces will have localities under them. They are:
- Roxas (Capital and seat of the government)
- San Vicente
Palawan del Norte
- El Nido
- Taytay (Capital and seat of the government)
Palawan del Sur
- Brooke’s Point (Capital and seat of the government)
Senator Sony Angara, the representative who endorsed the bill, made a mention that dividing the provinces into three (3) parts will make them eligible in complying with the requirements for a province set by the Local Government Code (LGC). This means that even if it’s parted into these divisions, they still pass the general requirement to be a province.
If we speak of economic potential, Palawan is a powerhouse. Its local growth rate has been clocked at a bristling seven (7) percent per annum for many years now.”
In addition to that, Jose Alvarez, Palawan Governor, said in an interview that this move is not political. He explains that there are challenges and difficulties in managing Palawan as a whole. So, what they’re doing is improving the governance. Alvarez said in an interview with ANC.
We experience difficulty in managing our large province. We are doing what is best for the province. It’s not gerrymandering. Ngayon kasi, the whole province, the biggest province in the whole country. We’re doing this for the future generation (Now, the whole province is the biggest province in the whole country).”
Security of islands
In addition to management, Alvarez also said that this could be a good move in terms of securing islands in the country. Especially after the Philippines has had some issues in the Spratly Islands with China.
If China will take over Palawan, there is no force that can repel them if thee is an invasion, but I don’t think they’ll do that; they will not do that. As far as the three (3) provinces are concerned, we do not feel an invasion of China.”
What do you feel about the changes in the set-up of the province of Palawan? Would this be effective in terms of tourism? Could this help our country to grow financially and economically?