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Comelec to hold plebiscite on Quezon split Nov. 29

By Delfin Mallari Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:26:00 09/26/2008

Filed Under: Regional authorities

LUCENA CITY ? The Commission on Elections will hold a plebiscite on the proposed division of Quezon province into two separate political units on Nov. 29, according to Rep. Danilo Suarez.

In an interview on Wednesday, Suarez, who represents the Bondoc Peninsula, said he was called by Comelec officials led by their chair, Jose Melo, and informed that the political exercise had been scheduled on the last Saturday of November.

The date is the 60th day after Republic Act No. 9495 creating Quezon del Sur will take effect following its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.

?We have to follow the timetable as mandated by the law. The plebiscite is now a go,? Suarez told the Inquirer.

Nantes opposition

Gov. Rafael Nantes, one of the original authors of the measure, has now declared his opposition to the planned division of the province. Two weeks ago, he reportedly met all his political allies, including mayors and provincial officials led by Vice Gov. Carlos Portes to ensure the proposal?s defeat in the plebiscite.

Dividing Quezon will disrupt his general plans for the progress in the province, Nantes maintained.

Former provincial board member Sonny Pulgar and businessman Hobart Dator Jr. have also launched the Save Quezon Province Movement.

Suarez urged the officials to allow the people to finally decide on whether they wanted to divide the province into Quezon del Sur and Quezon del Norte.

?If the people will decide that they like the province intact, we should all honor that. But if they decide to create another Quezon province, so be it. We can?t just leave their fate hanging,? he said.

He said the Comelec had allotted P50 million for the plebiscite.

Suarez thanked the three other lawmakers from Quezon ? Rep. Lorenzo ?Erin? Tañada III, Rep. Proceso Alcala and Nantes ? for their perseverance in sponsoring the bill.

Alcala and Tañada vowed their continuous support for the creation of Quezon del Sur.

The proposed legislation was originally filed by Nantes and then Quezon Rep. Wigberto Tañada in 1998.

Lapsed into law

The 13th Congress passed the proposal, which lapsed into law this month after President Macapagal-Arroyo failed to sign it within the required period.

Quezon, with a land area of 862,676 hectares and located east of Metro Manila, is the longest province and the sixth largest in the country.

Under the proposed division, the first and second districts of the province will be known as Quezon del Norte. It will be composed of Lucena City and the towns of Burdeos, General Nakar, Infanta, Jomalig, Lukban, Mauban, Pagbilao, Patnanungan, Polillo, Real, Sampaloc, Tayabas, Candelaria, Dolores, San Antonio, Sariaya and Tiaong.

Lucena will remain as the capital.

Quezon del Sur will be composed of towns in the third and fourth districts: Agdangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, General Luna, Macalelon, Mulanay, Padre Burgos, Pitogo, San Andres, San Francisco, San Narciso, Unisan, Alabat, Atimonan, Calauag, Guinyangan, Gumaca, Lopez, Perez, Plaridel, Quezon and Tagkawayan.

Gumaca will be the capital.

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