Provincial Capitol, Puerto Princesa City. VOX POPULI, VOX DEI. Echoes the majority of Palawan electorates when they voted down the ratification of Republic Act 11259 that eventually shut down the door for the creation of three Palawan provinces. The decision also negated the plan for the attainment of the long-cherished dream of establishing the Palawan Region and leaving its regional membership in MIMAROPA. People who transact business with the regional offices would have made it within their easy reach if the regional center is located in our own province. But to no avail, the dream was abandoned.
In a press conference called for the purpose, Governor Jose CH. Alvarez echoed that the provincial government of Palawan accepts the mandate of the Palaweᾑo voters who took part in the historic plebiscite, albeit with a tinge of sadness. “We, in the provincial government are not the losers in this plebiscite, but the people”. The provincial chief executive retorted.
The approval of this historic law would have paved for the birth of the three provinces wherein, each one will get its equal share from the Internal Revenue Allotment from the national government that was earmarked for provinces. This would have tripled our annual budget to further develop Palawan into more progressive provinces.
The NO advocates garnered 172,304 votes as against 122,223 from the YES camp. The turnout of votes is pegged at sixty per centum (60 %) of the total voting population of the province. The low turnout could be attributed to the early downpour that greeted the voters on the day of the plebiscite. As such, a big number of voters particularly those dwelling in far-flung communities and the old folks failed to make it to the voting precincts.
The social media took the center stage in the election. Those opposing the ratification of Republic Act 11259 launched a massive information drive to sway the hearts of the voters. They took advantage of the expansive reach of the social media to reach their target voters. Among other things, they circulated unfounded allegations and issues hurled against the provincial government to thwart the support of the electorates in favoring the ratification of the aforesaid statute.
The year-long postponement of the plebiscite due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic apparently did it for the NO campaigners to win the poll. The one-year hiatus, in some way, have stymied the momentum of the campaign of the provincial government who pushes for the ratification of RA 11259.
Despite of the recent setback, the provincial government vowed to continue the implementation of various programs and projects intended to maximize the delivery of basic services to its constituencies.