"What were those senators thinking?"



As if the country is not fragmented enough, the Senate voted to divide Palawan into three provinces. A look at the map of the Philippines with its 7,107 (depending on whether it’s high or low tide) would show that the country is so broken up making it unmanageable and hard to govern even with a strong leadership from imperial Manila.

Yet 14 senators saw it fit to divide Palawan into three provinces of Palawan del Sur, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Norte. Only Liberal Party Senator Risa Hontiveros had the sense to oppose the measure. What were the other senators thinking?

Voters in the May 13 mid-term elections should remember to strike out the names of the reelectionist senators from their ballot for not thinking. These include senatorial frontrunners Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay and Edgardo “Sonny” Angara who sponsored the House bill calling for the division which is a form of gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is a process wherein the boundaries of congressional districts are expanded to dilute the votes of a certain area to give advantage to the party in power.

If there is a pending proposal for a federal form of government to join some provinces together, what in heaven’s name were the 14 senators thinking ? Critics of the “divide Palawan into three” move voiced their concern that a divided Palawan would further weaken the country’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea against the encroachment of China. Speak of divide and conquer, splitting Palawan into three would suit China’s agenda well.

How will three Palawans respond to China’s creeping advance in the West Philippine Sea? Palawan is a frontier province in the South China Sea which Beijing has militarized. Yet, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo has this notion that it is the United States that is provoking China by sailing its warships near the artificial islands China built to install military airports and naval bases,

Listening to Panelo’s preposterous statements makes us miss former presidential spokesman Harry Roque who talks more sense. There are reports from Palace insiders who claim the President is already looking for Panelo’s replacement.

While the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has the overall supervision over exploration and mining operations, local and foreign companies complain that local governments also exact extortionist fees for permits to operate even if the DENR had already granted approval. The question is: Who are pushing for the split of Palawan into three? It has to be the local officials whose support is needed by reelectionist senators and congressmen.

‘Debt trap’

Aside from the divide-and-conquer agenda with the split of Palawan into three provinces, there is also a growing concern the Philippines is falling into a debt trap because of the government’s unabated borrowing of funds from China for its infrastructure projects. President Rodrigo Duterte is locked in the embrace of Chinese President Xi Jinping whom he welcomed into the country yesterday. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno rejected the debt trap claim as without basis. Yeah, right.

Vehicular traffic has been rerouted in Manila with so many major streets closed to give Xi’s motorcade of official entourage unimpeded passage. No curses from Digong as when he spewed invectives upon being caught in traffic because of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines on Jan. 15 to 19, 2015.

On another matter, the Philippine National Police in a statement said it is withdrawing its support for the ABS-CBN TV series “Ang Probinsyano.” PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said the TV series had put the police organization in a bad light by depicting its officials and men as totally corrupt and criminals in uniform. The network’s producers cited its disclaimer at the start of each episode saying the plot and characters are fictional and not based on any actual persons and events, But because Ang Probinsyano resemble some real people and events, viewers relate to the TV series which happens to be on its third year.

As someone who follows the series, my take on the matter is simply this. It’s time to end it and ring down the curtain. Anything no matter it good it is can turn boring because the audience is waiting for a denouement. There are so many sub-plots and villains that come up to bring harm to the main character of Cardo portrayed by Coco Martin. It has become ho-hum even to those who had gotten addicted to the series.

To the ABS-CBN top honchos, think of another series to replace Ang Probinsyano. Give it a rest, guys.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , Fragmentation , Senate , Palawan
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