MANILA, Philippines - The Senate local government committee on Monday endorsed to plenary a bill seeking to divide Camarines Sur and create a new province called "Nueva Camarines."
However, the bill endorsed by committee chairman Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is different from the original measure passed by the House of Representatives. Instead of the 4th and 5th districts, only towns in the 4th district will comprise Nueva Camarines.
Marcos told reporters before Monday's session that measure he recommended was the "compromise" reached by supporters and opponents of House Bill 4820.
In his sponsorship speech, Marcos admitted that he himself does not believe the province should be divided.
But seeing how the issue has become divisive among the residents and officials of Camarines Sur, he said he chose to let the people decide the matter through a plebiscite instead of killing the bill.
"The said localities are the least developed areas in Camarines Sur," Marcos said in his speech, referring to towns in the province's 4th district.
Marcos explained that creating Nueva Camarines won't affect the income of the rest of Camarines Sur.
He also said that with a population of more than 398,000, the new province would meet the population requirement of the local government code.
The senator made it clear that Camarines Sur's population was not a factor in his recommendation to divide the province.
"This representation strongly believes that the population of local government units is much more of an asset than a liability," said Marcos, a former governor of Ilocos Norte.
He added that provinces with large populations get more attention from the government. "This translates to better prospects of funding assistance," Marcos said.