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Island town in Masbate likes to be part of CAMSUR

SAN PASCUAL, Masbate (Oct. 21, 2011) – This island municipality that faces the coast of Pasacao, Camarines Sur likes to be a territorial part of the province of Camarines Sur.

 In a local news article, San Pascual town Mayor Jose Maria “Jojo” Rivera said that there is a growing sentiment among the residents of San Pascual, Masbate  that they prefer to be part of the province of Camarines Sur rather than Masbate because of their proximity to the Camarines Sur coastline, which is only an hour and 15 minutes boat ride away.

It takes about 12 hours to travel by  boat from this town to the provincial capital, Masbate City.

It appears, however, that Naga City, with the amenities and sophistication it offers, is the beacon that attracts the Masbateños to Camarines Sur. Naga City is a first class charter city and independent of the province of Camarines Sur but it is the most important center in the area.

Mayor Rivera said, the town’s residents speak the Bikol-Naga dialect and almost all of their trading, marketing, banking, hospitalization are done in Naga. San Pascual residents also send their children to colleges and universities in Naga.

During the term of former Mayor Jesses Robredo, the town’s officials took interest in joining the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC)  consisting of neighboring towns wanting to pursue local development with Naga City.

Expectedly, the Masbate Provincial government blocked the initiative.

 Mayor Rivera also expresses alarm that in recent months , the culture of violence prevalent in the province of Masbate is slowly creeping into his town as indicated by 154 murders and 30 homicides that occurred in the town since 2010 as reported by  the Philippine National Police. Most of these recorded crimes are not related to elections and crime rates are expected to get even higher when election seasons come.

Recently. a driver of San Pascual Councilor Erlinda Evangelista was shot to death by armed men, also injuring a minor caught in a crossfire. A Barangay captain was also shot here recentltly.

Most of the crimes in this municipality remain unsolved.

The local police also complains that because of the long hours of travel to Masbate City to file a case, urgent cases often fail to meet reglamentary period requirements. (SONNY SALES)