LUCENA CITY, Philippines?The Commission on Elections has officially set on Dec. 13 the plebiscite to ratify the creation of Quezon del Sur to be taken from the present province of Quezon and the renaming of the other half into Quezon del Norte.
This is contained in Comelec Resolution No. 8533 dated Nov. 12 signed by Comelec Chair Jose Melo and Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Nicodemo Ferrer, Leonardo Leonida, Lucenito Tagle and Armando Velasco.
The poll body urged nongovernment, civic, religious, professionals, youth and similar organizations to hold symposia, forums and meetings during the campaign period scheduled on Nov. 19 to Dec. 11 to enlighten the voters on the plebiscite issue.
It said local election officials, in coordination with local government units and village councils, should convene assemblies or ?pulong-pulong? for constructive discussions and debates.
It said that at least 10 days before the holding of the political exercise, its local offices will also post copies of Republic Act No. 9495 creating Quezon del Sur in all polling places to guide the voters.
With the official campaign period still to start, outspoken Lucena Diocese Bishop Emilio Marquez slammed his critics on his zealous support for the proposed division of Quezon province into two separate political units.
?I?m also a Filipino. I have the same rights of every citizen to participate in this issue (division of Quezon province),? Marquez said in his homily at the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral last Sunday.
He reacted to criticisms from anti-Quezon split groups arguing that the religious leader should not meddle in the hottest issue in the province based on the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.
Marquez has been vocal in his call on the faithful through his homilies to support the division of the province.
Under RA 9495, the 17 towns in the first and second districts of the province will be known as Quezon del Norte and Lucena City will remain as capital.
Quezon del Sur will be composed of 22 towns in the third and fourth districts with Gumaca town as the capital.
Last week, even not invited, Marquez showed up at the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), whose majority members are anti-Quezon split, and made a fervent appeal to provincial officials to allow the creation of two separate provinces for the sake of the poor people of the Bondoc Peninsula and Lamon Bay areas.
?It?s about time to give the people of the 3rd (Bondoc Peninsula) and 4th (Lamon Bay) districts the chance to stand on their own and develop themselves. I asked for your understanding,? Marquez said in his speech before the SP members.
He pointed out that the cities of Lucena and Tayabas and the towns of Sariaya, Candelaria and Tiaong have all been experiencing progress and development. Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon