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EXPLAINER

 PLEBISCITE  SPECIAL  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4NJv05U4YQ  
THAT  was  the  schismatic  anti-­‐pope  Clement  in  Spain,  
supposedly  having  an  angelic  vision  of  Jesus.    
Of  course  not  just  heretics  and  schismatics  claim  to  have  
angelic  visions.  Genuine  saints  do,  too.  On  the  other  hand  His  
Excellency  Bishop  Marquez  of  Lucena  had  a  more  earthly  
vision,  that  of  his  province  being  divided  in  half.  
And  so,  sometime,  though  no  one’s  sure  quite  when,  a  
plebiscite  is  expected  to  take  place  in  Quezon  Province.  Now  in  
the  past,  I’ve  talked  on  this  program  about  gerrymandering.  As  
another  political  entity’s  proposed,  let’s  focus  on  a  real  life  case  
and  find  out  if  Bishop  Marquez’s  advocacy  counts  as  
gerrymandering  or  not.  
It’s  plebiscite  night  on  the  Explainer.  I’m  Manolo  Quezon.  
I.  No  money,  no  honey  
LAST  FRIDAY,  after  she  attended  a  party  at  Fiama  Bar  in  
Makati  to  celebrate  the  birthday  of  the  Speaker  of  the  House,  
President  Arroyo  rushed  to  the  Palace.  She  had  an  appointment  
with  God,  as  you  can  see  in  this  Inquirer.net  video:  
http://www.inquirer.net/vdo/player.php?vid=1866  
http://www.cbcponline.net/bishops/bishops/marquez.html  
The  prelate  giving  communion  to  the  President  is  Lucena  
bishop  Emilio  Marquez.    
http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?congress=
14&id=suarez-­‐d  
Along  with  the  Most  Reverend  Marquez  was  the  Honorable  
Danilo  Suarez,  representative  of  the  3rd  District  of  Quezon  
Province.  
http://www.congress.gov.ph/members/search.php?congress=
14&id=tanada-­‐III  
Together  with  the  Honorable  Lorenzo  Tanada  III,  bishop  
Marquez  and  Congressman  Suarez  are  the  leading  proponents  
of  dividing  Quezon  Province  into  two  new  provinces,  Quezon  
del  Norte  and  Quezon  del  Sur.  
http://www.dpwh.gov.ph/offices/region/04A/news_archive_0
7.asp  
However,  as  this  catalog  of  projects  on  the  DPWH  website  will  
show  you,  since  Representative  Suarez  is  affiliated  with  the  
President,  he’s  in  a  better  position  to  solve  a  problem.  
But  before  we  tackle  that  problem,  a  backgrounder  on  the  
proposed  split  of  Quezon  Province.  
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20
081019-­‐167267/Bishop-­‐says-­‐idea-­‐for-­‐Quezon-­‐del-­‐Sur-­‐his  
It  all  began  in  1998,  when,  after  being  approached  by  bishop  
Marquez,  then  Rep.  Bobby  Tanada  filed  House  bill  702,  which  
proposed  dividing  Quezon  Province  into  two:  Quezon  del  Norte  
and  Quezon  del  Sur.  In  2004  his  son,  Erin  Tanada,  holding  the  
same  position,  together  with  Reps.  Danilo  Suarez,  Rafael  
Nantes,  and  Proceso  Alcala,  filed  a  similar  bill  (No.  2862)  in  
2004.  Without  any  fanfare,  the  13th  Congress  passed  the  
proposal  as  Republic  Act  9495.  
The  law  says  that  the  first  and  second  districts  of  the  existing  
province  will  be  known  as  Quezon  del  Norte.  Lucena  City  will  
remain  as  the  capital,  with  the  following  municipalities:  
Burdeos,  Gen.  Nakar,  Infanta,  Jomalig,  Lukban,  Mauban,  
Pagbilao,  Patnanungan,  Polillo,  Real,  Sampaloc,  Tayabas,  
Candelaria,  Dolores,  San  Antonio,  Sariaya,  Tiaong.  
Quezon  del  Sur  will  have  Gumaca  as  its  capital,  with  the  
following  towns  from  the  present  third  and  fourth  districts  of  
the  province:  Agdangan,  Buenavista,  Catanauan,  General  Luna,  
Macalelon,  Mulanay,  Padre  Burgos,  Pitogo,  San  Andres,  San  
Francisco,  San  Narciso,  Unisan,  Alabat,  Atimonan,  Calauag,  
Guinyangan,  Lopez,  Perez,  Plaridel,  Quezon,  and  Tagkawayan.  
After  Republic  Act  9495  lapsed  into  law  without  the  
President’s  signature  on  September  7,  2007,  it  was  published  
in  the  Official  Gazette’s  Volume  104,  No.  16,  on  April  21,  2008.  
This  means  that  according  to  the  provisions  of  the  law,  the  
plebiscite  was  supposed  to  take  place  on  June  21,  2008.  That  
problem  is  this.  
But  the  plebiscite  didn’t  take  place.  The  reason  was  that  the  
Comelec  had  to  finance  the  ARMM  automated  elections.  
So  then  Republic  Act  9495  appeared  in  the  pages  of  The  Manila  
Times  and  the  Manila  Standard  Today,  in  late  September.  By  
that  reckoning,  if  you  count  the  operation  of  the  law  from  the  
date  of  publication,  and  thus,  the  enforceability  of  the  law  by  
that  date,  the  plebiscite  can  he  held  on  December  6.    
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view
/20081026-­‐168480/Funds-­‐out-­‐for-­‐Quezon-­‐plebiscite  
The  latest  is  that  the  Department  of  Budget  and  Management  
has  finally  released  funds  for  the  plebiscite,  to  the  Comelec.  So  
if  you  wonder  why  the  bishop  of  Lucena  and  Representative  
Suarez  have  been  so  public  about  their  support  for  the  
President,  I  think  you  should  ask  Secretary  Rolando  Andaya.  
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view
/20081021-­‐167526/Church-­‐leads-­‐bid-­‐to-­‐divide-­‐Quezon-­‐into-­‐
2  
But  even  as  there  must  be  rejoicing  in  the  conventos  of  Quezon  
province,  the  whole  issue  has  become  bogged  down  in  a  
debate.  Why  a  debate  ensues  every  time  a  proposal  to  split  a  
problem  is  made,  is  something  we’ll  tackle  when  we  return.  
II.  Republic  of  Lilliput  
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfdDv2vkFf8  
THAT  was  a  pretty  cute  YouTube  video  criticizing  the  political  
practice  of  Gerrymandering.    
[Tanada]
This  brings  us  to  the  reason  any  proposal,  such  as  dividing  a  
province,  becomes  controversial.  To  some  people  it  just  makes  
no  sense.  
Fellow  Inquirer  columnist  Juan  Mercado  has  been  a  voice  
crying  in  the  wilderness.  He’s  long  warned  of  the  growing  
trend  of  having  what  he  calls  “Lilliputian  provinces,  pygmy  
governors.”  He  was  referring  to  the  imaginary  country  of  
Lilliput,  inhabited  by  people  6  inches  high,  in  Jonathan  Swift’s  
satirical  “Gulliver’s  Travels”.  The  process  of  creating  new  
provinces,  Mercado  argues,  is  motivated  by  the  small-­‐minded  
desires  of  political  leaders  more  interested  in  subdividing  the  
country  for  their  dynastic  convenience.  
The  Americans  call  subdividing  things  or  redrawing  political  
lines  of  the  map  with  their  re-­‐election  in  mind,  it  
Gerrymandering,  or  “manipulate  the  boundaries  of  [an  
electoral  constituency]  so  as  to  favor  one  party  or  class.”  It  has  
to  do  with  this  gentleman:    
[Elbridge-gerry-painting]
Elbridge  Thomas  Gerry,  5th  Vice-­‐President  of  the  United  States  
briefly  under  James  Madison.  As  Governor  of  Massachussets,  
Gerry  signed  a  bill  into  law  that  redistricted  his  state  to  benefit  
his  Democratic-­‐Republican  party.  
[TheGerry-mander]
The    Boston  Gazette  on  March  26,  1812  then  published  this  
editorial  cartoon,  to  criticize  the  law:  
In  Wikipedia,  there’s  this  neat  graphic  illustrating  how  
gerrymandering  helps  a  party:  
[Gerrymandering_36-28]  
Let’s  imagine  a  state,  or  in  our  case,  a  province  with  4  districts  
and  a  36:28  Green  (G)  party  majority.    
Top  left:  Magenta  (M)  party  wins  the  urban  district,  while  G  
party  wins  the  3  rural/suburban  districts  —  the  result  
expresses  and  enhances  the  fact  that  G  is  the  state-­‐wide  
majority  party.    
Top  right:  by  redesigning  the  4  districts,  there  is  a  2:2  tie,  with  
G  dominating  the  2  new  rural  districts  and  M  dominating  the  2  
new  urban/suburban  districts  —  closer  to  proportionality,  but  
masking  the  fact  that  G  is  the  state-­‐wide  majority  party.    
Bottom  left:  Creating  4  mixed-­‐type  districts  can  yield  a  4:0  
win  to  G  —  a  disproportional  result  considering  the  state-­‐wide  
reality.    
Bottom  right:  With  classical  Gerrymandering  techniques  it  is  
even  possible  to  ensure  a  1:3  win  to  the  state-­‐wide  minority,  M  
party.  
Here’s  just  two  quick  examples  from  the  USA,  show  in  the  
Wikpedia  entry:  
 
[TX22_109_abcdef]

[Illinois_District_4_2004]  
 
You  can  therefore  see,  that  whether  it’s  to  help  a  party,  or  a  
family,  in  our  case,  usually  an  entrenched  political  dynasty,  
gerrymandering’s  useful.    
Now  going  back  to  real  life,  Quezon  Province  has  been  divided  
before.    
[quirino-magsaysay in plane]
In  1951  President  Elpidio  Quirino  created  the  sub-­‐province  of  
Aurora.    
And  in  later  years,  proposals  were  made  in  Congress  to  
separate  the  sub-­‐province  of  Aurora  from  Quezon  Province.  
[tanadajoma]
During  one  such  discussion  in  Congress,  Senator  Lorenzo  
Tanada  sent  a  telegram  to  his  supporters  in  Lucena.  
“Please  object  to  the  bill  proposing  the  autonomy  of  Aurora  as  
a  distinct  local  unit,”  the  telegram  asked  his  constituents.    He  
said  that  separating  the  sub  province  of  Aurora  from  Quezon  
was  not  the  solution  to  charting  its  future  or  a  way  to  improve  
the  prospects  of  progress  for  the  whole  province  as  it  would  
only  create  a  new  homegrown  principalia  interested  only  in  
their  personal  economic  advancement.  
[marcos_regalia]
But  then  during  the  Marcos  years,  in  1979,  the  province  was  
split  into  Quezon  and  Aurora  anyway.  
The  late  Lorenzo  Tañada’s  argument  is  one  maintained  by  Juan  
Mercado:  the  creation  of  new  provinces  is  justified  on  
developmental  grounds,  but  in  reality,  what  it  fosters  is  the  
political  dominance  of  the  political  class  that  engineered  the  
creation  of  the  new  province.  Mercado  seems  to  think  that  
Gerrymandering  is  out  of  control.  Does  this  belief  have  a  basis  
in  fact?  Have  our  congressmen  gone  berserk?  
[Presidential_Flag_79stars]
Here’s  a  visual  clue.  In  1951,  President  Elpidio  Quirino  added  
the  ring  of  stars  you  see  around  the  presidential  seal.  His  E.O.  
451  stated  the  number  of  stars  equaled  the  number  of  
provinces  in  the  Philippines.  At  that  time,  it  was  52.  In  1998,  
President  Joseph  Estrada  (E.O.  19)  amended  the  Quirino  order,  
stating  that  the  number  of  stars  would  thereafter  be  
determined  by  the  number  of  provinces  the  country  has,  at  any  
given  time.  In  2003,  President  Arroyo  clarified  things  further  
through  E.O.  310.  When  she  signed  that  order,  the  country  had  
79  provinces.  Today,  the  country  has  81  provinces.  We  have  
even  more  cities  than  we  do  provinces.  In  1996,  we  had  61  
chartered  cities.  In  June,  2000,  we  had  84;  by  the  end  of  that  
year,  we  had  96,  and  by  2004,  we  had  117.  
In  contrast,  Indonesia,  which  is  also  an  archipelago,  had  10  
provinces  when  it  achieved  independence.  Today,  it  has  33  
(subdivided  into  regencies  which  have  received  increased  
autonomy  since  2001),  and  of  these,  seven  new  provinces  were  
created  since  2000.  Malaysia  is  a  federation  of  13  states  (9  
sultanates,  two  states  with  governors,  and  two  federal  
territories,  including  Kuala  Lumpur).  Since  independence,  
Malaysia  has  created  only  two  additional  states:  Kuala  Lumpur  
(which  split  from  Selangor)  and  Putrajaya,  which  split  off  from  
Sepang  district  in  Selangor  state.  Even  Thailand  has  76  
provinces  and  2  specially  governed  districts.  The  number  of  
Thai  provinces  has  actually  gone  down:  in  1915,  the  country,  
then  Siam,  had  83  provinces.  Provinces  were  actually  merged  
from  1915  to  1950.  From  1951  to  the  present,  only  about  10  
additional  provinces  were  created,  after  the  period  of  
provincial  consolidation.  India,  gigantic  in  size  (7th  largest  
country  in  the  world),  has  28  states  and  7  federally  governed  
union  territories.  
Do  you  remember  how  the  division  of  Cebu  into  new  provinces  
was  proposed?  You  will  recall  I  spoke  favorably  of  the  decision  
of  the  Cebuano  electorate  to  maintain  the  unity  of  their  
province.    
[PH_Proposed_provinces]
This  Wikipedia  map  shows  that  the  Cebuanos,  who  resisted  the  
gerrymandering  their  officials  wanted,  had  past  precedents  to  
guide  them.  In  1995  voters  rejected  splitting  Isabela  into  two.    
I  remember  asking  back  during  the  debates  over  the  future  of  
Cebu,  if  instead  of  further  subdividing  the  country,  we  
shouldn’t  consider  consolidating  our  provinces.  It’s  quite  
conceivable  that  we  will  manage  to  double  the  number  of  
provinces  from  the  52  in  1951,  to  102  within  the  next  decade,  
or  a  period  of  60  years.  In  the  same  amount  of  time,  it  hardly  
seems  possible  that  our  neighbors  will  do  the  same.  Yet  our  
national  territory  has  remained  fixed,  and  with  the  vast  
increase  in  political  subdivisions,  who  can  show  any  benefits  to  
the  public?  
The  debate  over  Quezon  province’s  division  will  surely  be  one  
to  watch  with  as  much  interest  as  the  debates  over  the  division  
of  Cebu.  
The  battlelines  are  clear.  
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view
/20081021-­‐167526/Church-­‐leads-­‐bid-­‐to-­‐divide-­‐Quezon-­‐into-­‐
2  
The  Catholic  Church  will  go  great  guns  for  the  division,  in  
tandem  with  the  political  leadership  of  the  3rd  and  4th  
congressional  districts  who  stand  to  gain  a  new  province.    
On  the  other  side  is  what  can  only  be  called,  in  political  terms,  a  
pipsqueak  movement    
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=581884&
page=23  
If  you  have  a  chance  to  go  online  and  want  to  see  what  
ordinary  citizens  think,  a  good  place  to  start  are  the  forums  in  
Skyscraper  City.  You  can  also  go  to  Google  and  search  for  blogs,  
including  those  of  residents  of  Gumaca,  some  of  whom  are  
happy  their  city  could  become  a  provincial  capitol,  others  who  
aren’t  as  keen.  
When  we  return,  we’ll  have  the  pros  and  cons  give  their  sides.  
III.  discussion  
IV.  My  view  
Sa  darating  na  plebisito  sa  lalawigan  ng  quezon,  merong  pabor  
at  merong  tumututol  sa  paghati  ng  probinsya.  Nasa  kamay  ng  
mga  residente  ng  probinsya  ang  kapakanan  ng  kanilang  
probinsya.  Narinig  ninyo  ngayong  gabi  ang  ilang  dahilang  kung  
bakit  magkaroon  ng  quezon  del  norte  at  quezon  del  sur.  
Narinig  din  ninyo  ang  ilang  dahilang  kung  bakit  dapat  manatili  
ang  kasulukuyang  teritoryo  ng  lalawigan.  
Ayon  kay  atty.  Pulgar,  kung  walong  daang  libo  ang  botante  sa  
quezon,  ochenta  porsyento  o  animanput  daang  libong  botante  
ang  nakikilahok  sa  pambansang  eleksyon.  Ngunit  ayon  sa  
kasaysayan  ng  mga  plebisitong  pang-­‐lokal,  bumababa  ang  
porsyento  ng  botanteng  nakikilahok  hanggang  sampu  o  
kinseng  porsyento  lamang.  
Ang  ibig  sabihin  nito  ay  posibleng  nasa  kamay  ng  isandaang  
dalawamput  libong  botante  lamang  ang  kapakanan  ng  
lalawigan.  Sa  aking  palagay,  hindi  naman  dapat  maging  ganito  
ang  partisipasyon  ng  taong  bayan  sa  isang  plebisito  tungkol  sa  
hinaharap  ng  kanilang  lupang  tinubuan.  
Kaya  sang  ayon  o  tutol  man  kayo,  sana  naman  makilahok  kayo  
sa  darating  na  kampanya.  At  tanggapin  kung  ano  man  ang  
tutoong  gusto  ng  mga  mamayan  ayon  sa  botohan.  Anuman  ang  
mangyari,  huwag  lang  po  sana  umabot  sa  sisihan  ang  resulta  ng  
plebisito.  Hindi  ito  panahon  para  mag  tulog-­‐tulugan  at  mag  
bulag-­‐bulagan.