Palawan rejects Bangsamoro draft

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY―The political leaders of Palawan have expressed opposition to a proposed measure including this province as part of 10 provinces in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, saying it “will not generate local support.”

Reps. Franz Alvarez, Eric Abueg and Gil Acosta, said they opposed the province’s inclusion in the BBL, and that they “will fight the bill once it reaches the House of Representatives for deliberation.”

“All three of us have discussed this and we agreed we’ll oppose Palawan’s inclusion,” Alvarez said in a statement.

Palawan’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the city council of Puerto Princesa had earlier passed board resolutions expressing their peoples’ opposition to the proposal because Palawan was “very far from Mindanao for us to be included in the BBL.”

Palawan was also “not a Muslim-dominated province.”

Under the proposed BBL, Palawan will be one of the 10 provinces composing the independent Bangsamoro region. The others are Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato and the new provinces of  Zamboanga Sibugay (carved out of Zamboanga del Norte) and Sarangani (carved out of South Cotabato).

Abueg said four plebiscites had been held in the province under the administrations of Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino III, where the negative votes cast were “more than 85 percent of the total votes.”

He manifested his stand by filing House Bill 1514 directing the House ad hoc committee on the BBL to “exclude Palawan and Puerto Princesa City from the proposed Bangsamoro entity.”

As of the 2010 census conducted by the National Statistics Office, Palawan, including Puerto Princesa City, had a total population of 994,340 with a Muslim population consisting of only seven to eight percent.


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