For the first time, Quezon Gov. Raffy Nantes together with some local officials and capitol employees on Wednesday voiced out strong opposition against moves to divide Quezon into two provinces.
Nantes and several other provincial officials went out showing a thumbs-down sign and holding hands to the tune of the song “If we hold on together”.
The governor admitted he was one of those who pushed for the province’s separation when he was still congressman. He, however, changed his mind when he saw that the Republic Act 9495 creating Quezon del Sur was “defective”.
“It said that the real property tax will be divided. There will be division among the plants in Pagbilao and Mauban. But according to the local government code, you cannot divide the real property tax,” he said.
Nantes believes the split will make the province weaker, saying the division does not guarantee a province’s success but good governance.
‘Yes to Hati Quezon’
Earlier, local officials belonging to the “Yes to Quezon del Norte/Quezon del Sur” gathered to show support for the split.
Former senator Wigberto Tañada, in a press conference, assured that the internal revenue allotment will be divided equally. He, together with Rep. Danilo Suarez and Bishop Emilio Marquez are behind the move.
The group stressed that there will be no split, only a formation of two new provinces.
Tañada started proposing the move during the 10th Congress when he was still congressman. His proposal, however, was not given much attention because of the impeachment case of then President Joseph Estrada.
Suarez and other assemblymen pushed the proposal in the 13th Congress. It eventually became a law in September 7, 2007.
Quezon del Norte will be composed of Burdeos, General Nakar, Jomalig, Lucban, Mauban, Pagbilao, Panukulan, Patnanungan, Polilio, Real, Sampaloc, Candelaria, Tiaong Dolores, San Antonio, Sariaya, Tayabas, and Lucena is the capital city. Quezon del Sur will be make up Agdangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, General Luna, Macalelon, Malunay, Padre Burgos,Pitogo,San Andres, San Francisco, San narciso, Unisan, Alabat, Atimonan, Calauag, Guinayangan, Lopez, Perez, Plaridel, Quezon,T agkawayan, and Gumaca being the capital.
The division, according to its proponents, aims to bring the people near the government. They cited that long distance and lack of communication hindered progress especially in the 3rd and 4th districts.
When asked, some Quezon residents said they do not favor the split, saying the separation will only make their province poorer.
“Magastos dahil magpapagawa ng isa pang kapitolyo at magpapasweldo sa mga empleyado. Mas dadami ang mangungurakot” (A lot of budget will be needed to build another capitol and for the employee’s salary. There will be more corrupt,” one government employee said.
For others, dividing the province would mean more attention to far-flung areas.
The Commission on Elections is supposed to hold a plebiscite on December 13 that could ratify the division.
The Supreme Court, however, recently barred the proclamation of the results of the upcoming plebiscite following a petition filed by opposing groups.