Occidental just divides Sur between Cagases, Bautistas-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
SEVERAL sectors slammed President Benigno Aquino III for creating the Davao Occidental, saying that such move should be done for the welfare of the majority, and not for political leaders only.
Others, however, saw something positive on the establishment of Davao Occidental.
After President inked the Republic Act 10360, which carved out the new province from Davao del Sur on January 14, some Dabawenyos think that dividing the province just to resolve political conflict between the Bautistas and Cagases is not a good idea.
For Lawyer Luwill Al-ag, it is not a good move if dividing the province was engineered to accommodate any individual, particularly politicians.
"Creating a new local government unit should be done for the welfare of the people," Al-ag said.
This was echoed by Cherry Orendain, regional spokesperson for Anakbayan, stating that it does not answer the basic concerns of the people like land for the landless, employment, housing and education, among others.
"This new law is an obvious manifestation of the rotten political system in the country. It will only benefit the elite Bautista and Cagas clans," Orendain said.
Juland Suazo, regional spokesperson for Panalipdan, said the act is a manifestation that the Aquino government is using this opportunity to "easily control votes for upcoming Senatorial elections and smoothly facilitate the approval of Cojuangco-owned coal-fired power plant in Malita and at least 5 big mining applications in the new Davao Occidental."
"It is gerrymandering or dividing political territories to accommodate the interests of conflicting political clans or dynasties. It definitely benefits the political clans or dynasties and not the poor, exploited, and marginalized people," Suazo said.
Councilor Jimmy Dureza, a native of Davao del Sur, said the creation of Davao Occidental to resolve the political conflict between the Bautistas and Cagases will further divide the people.
He, however, said that if such move is really for development, there's nothing wrong with it.
"If the reason is to bring more development programs for the two provinces and more opportunities for the people for employment and livelihood, then by all means let's support the move," he said.
The newly-created Davao Occidental will be composed of five municipalities from the second district of Davao del Sur -- Malita, Sta. Maria, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani.
The remaining towns of the secnd district -- Kiblawan, Malalag, and Sulop--will be part of the current 1st district to comprise Davao del Sur.
The two provinces will then have one congressional district each.
But, while several sectors slammed the creation of the new province, there are others who supported the President's decision.
Lawyer Maria Febes Barlaan, Davao del Sur Comelec provincial director, believes that the move will stop the political conflict rivalry between the local leaders in the province.
"The people were victims to the slow developments because services were served based on political colors and affiliations. Nevertheless, history forced legislators to divide Davao Sur to Occidental and future will justify the ultimate goal of such division," Barlaan said.
She added: "Geographically, division is the best in bringing services to the people through infrastructure and social services. In any vision, hope and political will are our best weapon."
"It is always good to divide a big province into two. With two governors, the government could reach out to its constituents and develop the province more easily and extend assistance to the people," said Lawyer Jonathan Jocom, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao City chapter.
However, Jocom said while the division of Davao del Sur would help ease the tension between the Bautistas and Cagases, a new personality could arise in the future and "challenge" them.
"Because as we know there is no monopoly in leadership, as long as you serve for the good of the people you will be elected otherwise you will just be a footnote in our political history," he said.
Councilor Joanne Bonguyan said it is proper to divide the province.
"With the number of municipalities in the province and with the vast spread of area, the Government can’t manage closely the economic growth, but it should be implemented after election," she said.
She said she has high hopes that Davao City would have an additional congressional district for the same reason.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 24, 2013.