Open Letter to Senator Marcos:
Lower House Handling of CamSur Partition A Ruse
By Emil S. Saavedra
Dear Senator Bongbong Marcos, and Honorable Members of the Senate Committee on Local Governments:
At the outset, please allow me to introduce myself. I am a founding member of the Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry in year 2002, and as a matter of fact, I was one of its 3 main organizers and was its first Secretary General. I am also the CEO of a consulting, research, promotions, and PR firm duly registered as Masscom Arts & Affairs, an outfit which since last year up to this year has been organizing and holding a series of public affairs called PRIVATE SECTOR SUMMITS, an enterprise which draws deliberation on the proposed Partition of the Province of Camarines Sur by the private sector on higher grounds far off the usual and traditional partisan machinations and political wrangling.
The First Sectoral Summit was held last May 2011 with the Ateneo de Naga University as our co-organizer. It focused on the business sector, the professionals and the academe. The Second Summit was held in June last year in Iriga City at the University of Saint Anthony (USANT), and our co-organizers were the USANT, and an NGO called the Coalition for Bicol Development.
Your Honors, during this second summit, we invited the leading political figures engaged in the pros and con on the issue of Partition so that they may be able to listen to and hear the sentiments of the people representing the private sector. Cong. Sal Fortuno, Cong. Noli Fuentebella, and Governor LRay Villafuerte attended this event. It became inevitable that a heated discussion and debate had ensued and consumed quite a span of time of our program. But this Summit became historic because the leading public figures, Cong Fuentebella and Gov LRay after being pacified from a dragging debate had embraced each other on the stage, and nearly kissed each other before a crowd of more than 500 summiteers and the two vowed that henceforth they shall desist from personal attacks and quarrels in approaching the problem on the proposed partition of Camarines Sur. But a week later a political pandemonium happened in Camarines Sur. Their skirmishes escalated.
Mr. Chairman, Your Honors, we should like NOW to express our sincerest appreciation, our feelings of great satisfaction and excitement because what we have been waiting for —a public hearing conducted by Philippine Congress has been eventually brought right here in the trenches of the people of the province of Camarines Sur. We people of Camarines Sur take our hats off before you Senator Marcos and all the Committee members for acting more proficient, more authoritative, more concerned, more professional by bothering to listen to us directly, to meet with the people whose province is being proposed to be cut into pieces, to be dismembered! All of us here surely cannot afford to go to the halls of Congress to voice out our sentiments. CONGRATULATIONS! We shall never forget this, we shall not forget you.
It all means, that afterall a public hearing conducted right at the subject province which will be dismembered is of utmost necessity; it is most ESSENTIAL for all intents and purposes, and probably INDESPENSABLE in the procedures of handling a congressional proposal such as this HB Bill 4820. If this Public Hearing held right here by the Senate is a requirement, an indispensable exercise before the bill’s passage, why was such legislative undertaking be deplorably, despicably ignored, or cast into obliviousness by that counterpart Committee in the House of Representatives headed by a certain Representative Arnais?
If Congressional processes so requires it, and is an ESSENTIAL procedure before acting on the bill, hence this House Bill 4820 had suffered some grave infirmities and inadequacies. It must be thrown back to the face of a certain Representative Arnais, the House Committee Chairman who railroaded and hastened to pass this bill without any kind of regard and concern for our people, an act of Congress that overlooked, disregarded our people and province as if the people of Camarines Sur are morons—with no balls and brains. ’TANG ’NA.
Why had the Arnais committee conducted hearings only in Quezon City among politicians but never with the private sector, nor even with the Youth—RIGHT HERE—in the Province of Camarines Sur? Quezon City will not be divided. It is Cam Sur being proposed to be divided. The wisdom of the 1991 Local Government requires Private Sector participation in governance. Is this certain Congressman Arnais not aware of this?
If this is so, Mr. Chairman, if this bill had suffered infirmities and thus “not in proper shape” in its journey into the legislative mill, we propose that your Committee should desist from further action on this bill. We propose that your committee should throw back the bill to the Lower House on the ground that they have not conducted public hearings like this one right on our courtyards, right among people who are without partisan interests or political concerns.
We want to ask this certain Mr. Arnais why he was so in a hurry in passing this bill with the speed of a Jaguar. Why they all wanted the plebiscite to be conducted before the month of October this year, that is before the filing of the certificates of candidacies! For us without partisan leanings, this is no ordinary legislation, Your Honors. Its results would last not just for 6, or 10 years. Its effects will last for centuries or until the end of this world, and the Lower House is in a hurry passing this Bill with the speed of the flight of a Peregrine hawk! ‘Tang ‘Na.
In this way, we call it ”the slip is showing” with which the motive becomes so glaring— NAKAKASILAW NA EBIDENSYA—na ang bill na ito ay POLITICALLY MOTIVATED, and not really for public good. Politically motivated means the proponents through this bill shall enjoy political comfort and convenience—not the people’s welfare.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, Your Honors, at the time we were organizing our Sectoral Summits, our ground rule is that we organizers should not voice out our own respective stands on the issue of Partition because the summits are open to both pros and con participants. But at this time, it seemed I have opened up how I regard the Fuentebella Bill.
From the start I have dubbed it as the Height of Stupidity. Yes, this proposal to divide our beloved province is the Height of Stupidity.
Why? The province of Camarines Sur in the last two decades from the time former Governor, now Congressman, Luis R. Villafuerte assumed office in 1986 at the provincial government, his accomplishments had been unmatched and unsurpassed by his peers in government service throughout the country. He had been always an awardee because the province of Camarines Sur which had risen from the ruins and debris of 20 years of Martial Law has slowly been climbing up the ladder and to greater heights.
When his son LRay took over as Governor in 2004, he vowed to follow the footsteps of his father—or would even surpass his father’s accomplishments. Now after two succeeding Villafuertes reigned in Camarines Sur, our province has experienced what I call classic renaissance period uplifting a Philippine countryside—Camarines Sur in particular—to global plane.
A Philippine countryside has been uplifted by the father and son, both Governors Villafuerte. We are now up walking to global plane —- to world class status. Never before in the history of our province did these things happen, such as to be named No. 1 tourist destination in the country.
After spending billions of pesos of the people’s money, and arrived at this stature, are we going to divide it? I said this is our first best chance to grow, to climb up to global stature. Our first BEST CHANCE, I REPEAT. Now here comes this House Bill 4820 which will cut down and will completely ravage all the accomplishments of the two outstanding Villafuertes!
Is this not the height of stupidity!
In the book I recently wrote, entitled THE VILLAFUERTES OF BICOL, I said,
“If we shall not write accurately and broadly about these men and women in the Villafuerte family, we shall be casting literary smokescreen over this book which comes not only as history book, nor as mere biography, neither as biting commentary on the obtaining social and political malfeasance in government, but let it be journalism’s rendezvous on some classic renaissance period uplifting a Philippine countryside—Camarines Sur in particular—to global plane.
“The Villafuertes serving in government make a great difference. They may not be as renown and important as the Osmeňas of Cebu; nor as learned as the Laurels of Batangas; neither do they have as high and great stature as the Aquinos of Tarlac; but the Villafuertes of Bicol tower above them all in their capacities for greatness, and in their pursuit of public good through unmatched sacrifices in public office.”
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