Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez conceded loss in the recently concluded plebiscite where residents voted whether to accept a law that splits Palawan into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur.
“‘Yon ang result na hindi mababago, tinatanggap natin nang buo (It’s the result that cannot be changed and we fully accept it),” said Alvarez, the prime voice in the Palawan division initiative, in a press conference Monday afternoon, March 15. He added that the proponents will not mount an electoral protest appealing for a recount.
In the partial results from 8 out of 23 towns that reached the Provincial Plebiscite Board of Canvassers as of 9:55 am Monday, March 15, there were 75,075 “no” votes and 68,198 “yes” votes. Meanwhile, the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay had a partial and unofficial count of 168,895 “no” votes and 121,327 “yes” votes as of 11:42 pm Sunday, March 14.
However, Alvarez emphasized that it’s the Palaweños’ loss for rejecting Republic Act No. 11259, which he and other incumbent politicians said can fast-track the delivery of government services to the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in this largest Philippine province.
“Hindi naman ang pamahalaang panlalawigan ang natalo. Ang natalo dito ang sambayanang Palaweño dahil ang batas na ito ay para sa kanila ngunit hindi tinanggap,” he said. (It’s not the provincial government that lost here but the people of Palawan for whom this law was created, though they rejected it.)
The “no” votes outnumbered the “yes” votes in Brooke’s Point with 12,042 against 11,816, Roxas with 12,459 against 9,582, and Taytay with 15,031 against 10,656. These towns are designated as the centers of Palawan del Sur, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Norte, respectively, under RA 11259.
In a precinct in San Vicente town where Alvarez cast his vote, “no” also won with 49 versus 39 in favor of “yes.” The majority of residents in this northern municipality also disapproved RA 11259 with 6,418 against 5,184.
Kalayaan town in the West Philippine Sea, which had the least number of registered voters at 281, also nixed the law carving up Palawan. This as the “no” vote earned 41, overpowering “yes” with 20.
Reacting to these, Governor Alvarez said: “Anong nararamdaman ko? E di wala. Kasi taumbayan ang naghusga. Bakit naman ako magdaramdam, di ba? Sa tingin niyo ba nagluluksa ako? Para ‘yon lang?” (What do I feel now? Nothing. Because it’s the people who have decided. Why would I feel bad about it, right? Do you think I’m grieving? Just for that?)
“Nakakatawa lang dahil akala nila hindi tayo nakakatulog nang mahimbing. Nakakatulog tayo nang mahimbing, ako pa rin naman ang gobernador hanggang next year (It’s funny that people think I haven’t slept well since the past few days. I sleep very well, because I’m still the governor until next year),” he added.
Meanwhile, the “yes” vote earned overwhelming support from 21,604 residents of Bataraza, a mining town in southern Palawan. It also won with 7,351 in its neighboring town Rizal, as well as in the northern island towns of Cagayancillo and Culion with 2,085 and 4,329, respectively. – Rappler.com