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House Committee Approves Bill to Partition CAMSUR

Naga City (June 8 2011) – Despite vigorous oppositions from the camp of Camarines Sur Governor LRay Villafuerte, the House Committee on Local Government approved yesterday the bill that proposes to create a new province out of 2 legislative districts of Camarines Sur.

The bill shall now go to the plenary of lower house for debate and possible approval.

HB 4728 or “ An Act Creating Nueva Camarines’ “ authored by 4th district Congressman Noli Fuentebella was approved by the majority of the house committee members who apparently gave weight to the argument that the proposed new province shall be able to meet all the geographic, demographic and financial requirements set forth in the Local Government Code of 1991 for creating a new separate province.

The Local Government Code requires that a new province should have a total land area of at least ten (10) thousand hectares, at least two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) population and at least twenty (20) million pesos annual income. The proposed new province, Nueva Camarines, to be formed from the Partido (4th district) and Rinconada (5th district) legislative districts is deemed to have met said requirements.

The committee ignored the argument of the Villafuerte camp that the Fuentebella’s move is a political caprice that should not distract the momentum of a province that is developing and fast becoming a world class tourist destination.

Based on records obtained by Vox Bikol, thirty nine (39) Representatives and five (5) Party List Representatives endorsed the partitioning of the province and some even co-authored the Fuentebella bill.

No Camarines Sur congressman other than Fuentebella has endorsed nor co-authored the bill.

Even if his camp failed to block the Fuentebella’s bill at the committee level, Gov. LRay Villafuerte remains unperturbed. He said that the political battle over the division of the province has just begun and Fuentebella’s bid for creating a new province is still a long shot.

The House of Representatives is just a step in such political process; the Senate will still hear the same bill and, at any step, opponents of the province partition can go to the Supreme Court to contest the move, according to the Villafuerte Camp.

And if all else fail, Villafuerte supporter contend, there is still the people of Camarines Sur who can block the partition move in a compulsory plebiscite that is to be called regarding the issue.

The unpopularity of the partition move might just be the last wall its opponents can bank on. An informal unscientific online survey of Vox Bikol with more than 300 unique respondents reveals that 58% are against the partition move, 37% for it and 5% are undecided.


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