Press Release
November 19, 2018


Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday voted against a measure that seeks to divide the Province of Palawan into three (3) Provinces. She said that a divided Palawan may strengthen China's position in the West Philippine Sea.

Hontiveros said that China has aggressively and arrogantly exerted its claim on the West Philippine Sea. "Instead of having to face a single, strong provincial government which can mobilize the entire island in its own defense, China will now have the opportunity to infiltrate and influence smaller local government units," Hontiveros said.

"This is not your business as usual subdivision of political units but one with deep geopolitical repercussions especially since the Province of Palawan is right in the forefront of our West Philippine Sea territory," she added.

Hontiveros also lamented the lack of genuine consultation in the proposal. She pointed to the letter of Bishop Eduardo Sarabia Juanich of Taytay, Palawan and the petition by the Save Palawan Movement saying that there was no genuine consultation made when the bill was being heard.

"For something as important as what the bill seeks to accomplish, it is my opinion that our committee did not reach out to all affected sectors, particularly the non-government organizations, the religious and the private sector. While the public hearing conducted in the Senate invited as resources persons, local government officials and employees of the province, it failed to take into account the position of the various NGOs, people's organizations and the religious who are opposed to the subdivision of our last frontier," Hontiveros said.

The Senator also underscored the various implications the proposed measure may have on the country's existing environmental laws.

"It is my opinion that the bill has failed to take into account the various environmental and natural resources laws that have specific jurisdiction over Palawan," Hontiveros said.

The measure seeks to divide Palawan into 3 provinces: Palawan del Norte (Northern Palawan), Palawan Oriental (Central Palawan), and Palawan del Sur (Southern Palawan).

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