Two provinces to emerge resource-richer from split CamSur | Inquirer Opinion

Two provinces to emerge resource-richer from split CamSur

08:12 PM August 16, 2011

ALLOW ME to comment on Conrado Banal’s column, “Fraud to be Filipino” (Inquirer, 8/1/11) .

First of all, House Bill 4728 creating the new province of Nueva Camarines from parts of the fourth and fifth districts of Camarines Sur was not “railroaded.” As chair of the House Committee on Local Government, Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz would attest that two committee hearings on House Bill 4728 were held on May 31 and June 7. CamSur Gov. LRay Villafuerte and Rep. Salvio Fortuno participated lengthily in those hearings. They even brought with them three busloads of their rabid supporters. Unfortunately for them, the lawmakers were not swayed by this show of force.

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Secondly, it may be true that CamSur has registered the highest growth rate in rice production and achieved tourism-driven economic growth. But has progress substantially improved the lives of the people of CamSur? I don’t think so.

The province remains one of the poorest in the country, the 78th among 79 provinces, besting only Maguindanao. (Good Governance Index for 2008)

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Thirdly, Banal says the creation of Nueva Camarines will “cost a ton of money.” But of course. You have to set up a provincial capitol, various offices, recruit new employees and so on. But what would be the returns from the initial investment? A reduced CamSur would have an IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) of P772.14 per person as against the present CamSur’s IRA of P673.029 per person.

It is simply not true, therefore, that two weak provinces will be created, since both would become first-class provinces in terms of income, population and land area as certified by the Bureau of Local Government Finances, National Statistics Office and Land Management Bureau.

Banal also cites a foreign-funded study that ostensibly says splitting a province into two normally leads to “the creation of political dynasties and potentially will encourage little political tyrants in the countryside, whose only skill is winning the election but poorly lacking the ability to govern effectively.” The main author of HB 4728, Rep. Arnulfo  Fuentebella, has vowed not to run for governor of a newly created Nueva Camarines, so the claim that he is only out to carve a new political turf for himself is way out of turn.

I fully support the creation of Nueva Camarines because I want our people to benefit from Caramoan’s popularity as a tourist destination. I believe this can happen only when we are part of a Nueva Camarines.

I am well aware that CamSur is not exactly a model of good governance. It has been the subject of derogatory Commission on Audit reports for three successive years, from 2007 to 2009.

This year, former Sanggunian member Carlo M. Batalla filed a complaint against Governor LRay in connection with the ghost purchase of fuel supposedly worth P20 million, within a span of four months (January to April).

I do not want to have anything to do with a provincial administration whose record in governance leaves much to be desired.

CONSTANTINO CORDIAL JR., mayor, Caramoan, [email protected]

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, Congress, economy, local government, natural resources, Nueva Camarines, Poverty, Senate
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