By Sonny Sales | www.journal.com.ph
NAGA City -- The Senate committee on local government headed by Senator Bongbong Marcos will hold the last public hearing on the bill dividing Camarines Sur province (HB-4820) at the Naga City Coliseum on Thursday.
Based on timetable for the approval of HB-4820 in a Senate caucus presided by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile last July 24, the Senate committee hearing was already completed last May 31.
However, various sectors in CamSur, including leaders of the oppositors to the bill, have clamored to hold one last public hearing this week.
In a fast-track Senate timetable, the finalization of the committee report has been set for Aug. 5, with 2nd and 3rd readings of the bill until Aug. 13.
Ratification by the Senate and transmittal for signing by the President is until Aug. 17, and publication of the law is on Aug. 18.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) publication, setting the date of the plebiscite and calendar of activities for the plebiscite, will be from Aug. 21 to Sept. 21, while date of the plebiscite is set on Sept. 22 (Saturday), this year, wherein 35 towns and one component city (Iriga, except the chartered city of Naga) will vote in the plebiscite for the creation of the new “Nueva Camarines” province, comprising the Partido and Rinconada districts.
Political critics said the Senate public hearing on Aug. 2 is an expected showdown by supporters of the bill proponent Rep. Arnulfo “Noli” Fuentebella and supporters of the opposition led by Gov. Luis Raymund Villfuerte.
Last July 29, CamSur 5th district Rep. Salvio Fortuno of the Rinconada district claimed that he had earlier urged Marcos to bring the public consultation to CamSur to get the real sentiments of the Rinconada constituents majority of whom opposes the bill.
Similarly, Emil Saavedra, civic leader and organizer of earlier two private-sector forums on the division, said, “they lauded the efforts of Senator Marcos to bring the public hearing in CamSur.”
Saavedra said HB-4820 passed the House of Representatives early this year without holding a single consultation in CamSur.