By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that whether or not there are three or just one Palawan, China will be able to infiltrate the province if it really wanted to.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement days after it was revealed that President Duterte has signed the measure dividing Palawan into three provinces.
Following the signing, an earlier statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros, the lone opposition to the passing of the measure, resurfaced. She earlier said that the law will make it easy for China to infiltrate smaller local government units that just one.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo dismissed Hontiveros’ concern, saying China will make its move to conquer even just one Palawan province if it really wanted to.
“Walang connection. Eh, kahit naman walang probinsya kung gustong mag infiltrate ng mga lokong ‘yan (China), eh. Parang wala namang koneksyon naman yun (It has no connection. Even if there is no [smaller] provinces, if those Chinese fools really wanted to infiltrate, they would),” he said, later on explaining that “loko” or “fool” was just a term of endearment.
“‘Divide and conquer?’ Sa politika lang yun dito sa atin (Divide and conquer only happens Philippine politics),” he added.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11259 on April 5. It will divide Palawan into three provinces namely: Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur.
Under the law, the province of Palawan del Norte will be composed of the municipalities of Coron, Culion, Busuanga, Linacapan, Taytay and El Nido.
The province of Palawan Oriental, in turn, will be comprised of the municipalities of Roxas, Araceli, Dumaran, Cuyo, Agutaya, Magsaysay, Cayancillo, and San Vicente.
The province of Palawan del Sur, which will be considered as the “mother province,” will be composed of the municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Quezon, Rizal, Espanola, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Balacbac and Kalayaan.
The three provinces will be created depending on the results of a plebiscite in the affected areas. It will be held on the second Monday of May 2020. The election of new elective officials will be held on the second Monday of May 2022 during the national and local elections.
According to Panelo, it will still be up to the people of Palawan if they want their island to be divided into three smaller provinces. He, however, said that even if the division may fatten up the bureaucracy, it will address the concerns of the people in the area more effectively.
“Pero every creation nga (Every creation), precisely is to respond to the needs, to the delivery of basic services, yung problema ng tao doon sa mga lugar na yun (and address the problems of the people in that area),” he said.