The Banawa-Englis question-A A +A
Sunday, June 24, 2012
THESE can be the worst of times or the best of times. With the 2013 elections less than a year away, the best laid plan can zoom towards implementation or gets bogged down by the scheming of politicians. Consider the stalled Ciudad project of Capitol and Fifth Avenue Property Development Corp.
I was not surprised, therefore, by the seeming unease shown by former Cebu City south district congressman Antonio Cuenco when he passed by the Sun.Star Cebu office last Saturday. I personally don’t know the man and this was the first time he sought me out to enlighten me about an issue. Obviously, seeing through the splitting of Guadalupe into two barangays is preoccupying him now.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec), in a resolution dated June 21, 2012, has set for July 28, 2012 the plebiscite to ratify the creation of a new barangay, Banawa-Englis, which would be carved out from the present Barangay Guadalupe. The measure creating Barangay Banawa-Englis, Republic Act (RA) 9905, initiated by Cuenco when he was still congressman, was passed by Congress in 2009 and signed into law by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Jan. 7, 2010.
A plebiscite scheduled for that year was suspended because a boundary question reached the courts. Victor Buendia, who resides in Rosalina Village in Sitio Lupa near the boundary of Guadalupe with Labangon, had claimed that if Banawa-Englis’s split with Guadalupe is ratified, he would be disqualified as barangay captain of Labangon. RA 9905 lists Rosalina Village as part of the future Barangay Banawa-Englis.
But the former presiding judge of Branch 58 of the Regional Trial Court, Gabriel Ingles, junked Buendia’s petition last year, paving the way for Comelec’s scheduling of the plebiscite on the Guadalupe split next month. Interestingly, we are in the midst of a tug-of-war for mayor in next year’s polls and I share Cuenco’s hope that the plebiscite won’t be politicized.
I am one of those who think that it is about time for Guadalupe, which has a voting population of more than 28,000, to be split. Current officials of Barangay Guadalupe may not admit it, but governing the area has gotten unwieldy with Banawa-Englis getting the shorter end of the stick, sort of. The place certainly demands better attention from barangay officials.
Besides, times have changed. The opening of a major road going south passing by Banawa-Englis has increased business potentials of the area. Banawa-Englis is growing even faster, thus its becoming a separate barangay is no longer a matter of “should” but “when.”
Cuenco, who apparently considers the creation of Barangay Banawa-Englis as his baby, said he would lobby for a “yes” vote but would respect whatever Guadalupe residents will decide on. He also hoped that Osmeña and the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) would come up with a hands-off policy and allow the residents to decide on their own. Cuenco is no longer with the BOPK but is already with the group of Mayor Michael Rama.
Osmeña, a resident of Barangay Guadalupe, has said he won’t vote in the plebiscite and won’t influence the decision of residents. I think Osmeña and Rama should not take sides because doing so would be bad politics. If they push for a “no” vote, they would get the ire of Banawa-Englis residents, while a “yes” vote could anger Guadalupe residents who want the status quo preserved.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 25, 2012.