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Manila Standard Today - Camarines split: Far from flavor of the month

In The News
2 August 2012

By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today

Featured-image-Manila-Standard-TodayTwo Bicolano lawmakers, both former military officers, have failed to see eye to eye on splitting Camarines Sur in two provinces by creating Nueva Camarines.

Senator Gringo Honasan said the committee on local government headed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos should consult the people of Camarines Sur through a hearing on House Bill 4820 in Naga City.

But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV saw no need to waste time on the proposal because any partition would not only set a precedent but also lessen the Internal Revenue Allotment of the existing provinces and hamper delivery of basic services.

“If we divide CamSur now, what will stop other provinces, such as Quezon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, from dividing their provinces?” he said. “I suggest that we abandon this move and scrap the measure.”

The proposed bill has been passed on third reading in the House of Representatives and is pending before Marcos’ committee.

Trillanes is supported by the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Engr. Solomon Ngo in “A Resolution expressing opposition to the proposed division of Camarines Sur into 2 provinces.”

The group said “our businesses will be hit hard if our ‘market’ will diminish in area and number as a direct result”, harping on economies of scale.

“We do not divide a company if it is profitable and is doing well. This holds true in the case of a province,” Ngo said. “Hindi naman lugi ang probinsya (the province isn’t losing business) and it is in fact doing well so we find absolutely no reason to divide it.”

Rep. Salvio Fortuno, of the 5th district, said the Commission on Elections had no money for the exercise because the Department of Budget and Management reduced its 2013 allocation to P8 billion.

Comelec sought P24 billion to be included in the P2-trillion general appropropriation.

“The Comelec is not even sure if it would get sufficient funds for the conduct of automated national and local elections next year,” Fortuno said. “I don’t see the wisdom of spending an estimated P70 million from what would be available to the Comelec on a plebiscite for the proposed creation of a new province that is not even necessary.”