SENATOR Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV yesterday expressed opposition to House Bill 4820, which is proposing to divide Camarines Sur into two and create the province of Nueva Camarines, citing that there is no compelling reason to pursue such move.
“Legislating the division of a province when there is no compelling reason to do so is an unwise and risky move for us to take, and this will likely set a bad precedent for future lawmakers,” said Trillanes, who is a member of the Senate committee on local government.
Trillanes added that carving out a new province out of Camarines Sur will only lessen the Internal Revenue Allotment of the existing province and the proposed one to be created, thus hampering the delivery of basic services. He added that this might set an ill-advised trend of legislations seeking division of big provinces in the country.
Trillanes, who is a Bicolano, explained that, “If we divide CamSur now, what will stop other provinces, such as Quezon, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, from dividing their provinces? I suggest that we abandon this move and scrap the measure.”
The said proposed measure has been passed on third reading and is pending in the Senate committee on local government of which Trillanes is a member.
This position was supported by the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI), headed by Engr. Solomon Ngo, as it unanimously approved a resolution entitled “A RESOLUTION EXPRESSING OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED DIVISION OF CAMARINES SUR INTO TWO (2) PROVINCES (HOUSE BILL NO. 4820).”
The CSCCI stated in the resolution that “our businesses will be hit hard if our “market” will diminish in area and number as a direct result if Camarines Sur will be split into two provinces,” further stating that “as businessmen we believe in the principle that if your business is big, you have to expand and not divide, which will weaken your credit line and reduce profit.”
Also in business, size matters.
This is true for provinces as well, the bigger the province the more progressive it can become.
“We do not divide a company if it is profitable and is doing well. This holds true in the case of a province. Hindi naman lugi ang probinsya and it is in fact doing well so we find absolutely no reason to divide it,” Ngo pointed out as he released a copy of the resolution.
The opposition of Trillanes and CSCCI to the division of the province comes at the heels of a brewing dispute between the Comelec and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), after the latter decided to reduce the poll body’s 2013 budget to P8 billion. The original amount that the Comelec has asked for inclusion in the proposed P2-trillion national budget for next year was P24 billion.
For his part, Congressman Sal Fortuno of the 5th district of Camarines Sur, who also opposes the bill, said that “the Comelec is not even sure if it would get sufficient funds for the conduct of automated national and local elections next year. 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 does not seem to be urgent.”
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes recently warned that the poll body would not be able to carry out automated elections next year with the proposed P8- billion budget pegged by the DBM. Brillantes said that the Comelec would have to resort to manual elections but also warned that he would not be willing to administer it.