Palace on law dividing Palawan: No connection with South China Sea issue
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday justified the signing of a law dividing Palawan into three provinces, saying it has nothing to do with the country’s stake over the South China Sea.
“Every creation precisely is to respond to the needs, to the delivery of basic services, to the problems of people in the area,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a press briefing yesterday.
“There is no connection (with the South China Sea issue). Kahit naman walang probinsiya kung gustong mag-infiltrate ng mga lokong iyan,” Panelo added.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros had expressed concern that the law would allow China to strengthen its position in the South China Sea as it could have the “opportunity to infiltrate and influence smaller local government units.”
President Duterte signed Republic Act 11259 on April 5 dividing Palawan into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur.
A plebiscite to ratify the measure will be held on the second Monday of May in 2020.
Civil society groups and residents of Puerto Princesa, the capital of the province, are against the law, saying it would not address the problems in the province.
Panelo said Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez cited the advantages of the law, including better representation for districts.
When asked for comment, Alvarez said the law is a “collective idea of a majority of Palaweños.”
“This is our idea for better management of resources and faster delivery of basic services,” Alvarez said in a text message.