Camarines Sur’s lawmakers and officials on Thursday were surprised to learn that the province had been split into two: Camarines Sur and a new province called Nueva Camarines.
Congress approved the split on the eve of its sine die adjournment without any public hearings, consultations or plenary debates, the officials said.
Camarines Sur Rep. Salvio Fortuno said some of his municipalities would be taken away from him without his having been consulted by Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella, principal author of House Bill 4728 that was passed on third and final reading without amendments and plenary debates.
As a result, the leaders of the Camarines Sur chapters of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Philippine Councilors League, and Liga ng mga Barangay on Thursday called on the Senate to dump House Bill 4728.
They said the “divide CamSur scheme” would cause a major setback in the province’s rise as Bicol’s economic powerhouse and the country’s top eco-tourism and extreme sports draw. They passed separate resolutions opposing Fuentebella’s bill.
Fuentebella, a congressman in his last term, represents the fourth district. The officials said it appeared he wanted Nueva Camarines to include his Fourth district and some municipalities of Fortuno’s Fifth district. He planned to run for governor in the new province that he wanted created, they said.
“The only reason we can think of is not a good one, and it involves the self-serving agenda of some politicians who want their own domain where they can rule with impunity,” said local Philippine Councilors League president James Jaucian of the municipality of Libmanan.
The proposed Nueva Camarines would cover the city of Iriga, the municipalities of Baao, Balatan, Bato, Bula, Nabua, Caramoan, Garchitorena, Goa, Lagonoy, Presentacion, Sagnay, San Jose, Siruma, Tigaon and Tinambac. Only the towns of Baao, Balatan, Bato and Bula are not covered by the Partido area created by Republic Act 7820.
This 17-year old law, which set up the Partido Development Authority as a corporate entity supposedly overseeing the economic development of the Partido areas under its jurisdiction, has provided Partido with its own funding source and authority to enter into transactions independent of the provincial government. ManilaStandardToday