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Inquirer Southern Luzon
Quezon gov softens stance


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:08:00 10/23/2008

Filed Under: Regional authorities

LUCENA CITY ? Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes has softened his stand against the proposed creation of Quezon del Sur saying the final decision now rests with the people in the upcoming plebiscite.

?It is now with the people. Whatever would be the decision of the people in the plebiscite, I believe that it is God?s will,? Nantes said in an interview by local media aired over the radio.

Republic Act No. 9495 creating Quezon del Sur was originally filed by then Quezon Reps. Wigberto Tañada and Nantes in 1998.

After Tañada?s exit from the legislature, the bill was vigorously pursued by Nantes and Representatives Lorenzo Tañada III and Proceso Alcala.

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

However, after being elected governor in the 2007 elections, Nantes made a turnaround and has been publicly declaring his opposition to the division of the province on grounds that it will disrupt his general plans for the development of Quezon.

Two months ago, Nantes reportedly even called a meeting in Manila of all municipal and provincial officials allied with him, headed by Vice Gov. Carlos Portes, and gave orders to ensure the defeat of the proposed division of the province.

But the opposition against the planned Quezon split remained resolute in their advocacy to defeat RA 9495 in the upcoming plebiscite scheduled in the latter part of November.

Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga (1st District) declared that he will join the campaign trail to defeat RA 9495 in the upcoming plebiscite in total disagreement with his three other provincial colleagues in Congress Tañada (4th District), Alcala (2nd District) and Danilo Suarez (3rd District) - who all favored the proposal.

?In due time, I will say my piece against the proposed law,? Enverga told the Inquirer in an earlier interview.

The lawmaker, son of former Governor Wilfrido Enverga, maintained that the province, touted as the longest province in the country, would lose its position of strength in the national government if it will be divided into two political units.

?Because of our big territorial jurisdiction, the province is often being noticed by the national government, especially by the president who gives us impact projects for the people. Definitely, we will lose that advantage,? he said.

The lawmaker also expressed fears that the budget that would be allotted to two separate political units will be miniscule to meet the financial requirement of running a provincial government.

"The proposal to create Quezon del Sur is one step forward but two steps backward,? the provincial lawmaker said.



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