CamSur partition: It’s not the economy, stupid! (4)

Political Interests

What has not been expounded in the in the CamSur partition debate is the issue on political interests, power relations and control.

First, Camarines Sur is just like any ordinary province in the Philippines – it is controlled by political clans. In Camsur, the members of these clans continue to grow in number and thus need newer territories to rule. The “growth” in terms of number of territories should therefore correspond to the growth in clan membership and this can be logically resolved through gerrymandering. This explains why the very vocal pro-partition are the old politicians and patriarchs, Noli Fuentebella and Luis Villafuerte.

But if gerrymandering is the logical course, why would LRay Villafuerte oppose? The answer: The younger Villafuerte has economic interests in Caramoan and having a mayor outside the ambit of his control could threaten these interests. As oft said, in the Philippines political power is economic power.

The problem, the older Villafuerte stresses more the political side and perhaps sees the move as a means to lessen the threat of the Fuentebellas. Kung magigirumduman pirang beses nang nag-banggaan an mga Villafuerte asin Fuentebella sa pulitika ini pagkatapos kan Guerra Mundial Dos. Dahil nasala an mga Fuentebella sa pagsuporta kay Marcos, nagluya an control kaini pagkatapos kan EDSA I asin dai na nakabawi pa para kontrolon an probinsya. If the bill succeeds and becomes a law, the partition could further limit the political control of the Fuentebellas to the Partido Area and, at the most, the Rinconada. On another note, Luis Villafuerte’s support to the bill could also serve as a peace offering to the Fuentebellas particularly to the costly electoral battles, and to the lack of attention to the Partido District. It should be noted na nawalat ang Partido sa lado kan pag-asenso poon kan tumukaw an mga Villafuerte.

For the new players like Sal Fortuno and Datu Arroyo, the division of the province could definitely affect their political control. Fortuno is closer to the Metro Naga electorate that the Partido’s. Should he decide to run for a provincial position in the future, it would be easier for him to do so than run in a Nueva Camarines. For Arroyo, the division could vindicate him in the Camarines Sur redistricting issue. It should be noted that Arroyo benefited from the redistricting and allowing the partition means Camarines Sur is really a large province so the redistricting is just proper. In addition, if he decides to run for a provincial post, he won’t be campaigning anymore in Partido Area where he is said to be less welcomed.

 

In conclusion, if we do a balancing, the political rather than the economic justifications weigh more in the issue of CamSur partition. The problem is, these political reasons are just treated at the sidelines. If all the political personalities involved will issue an affidavit that they, nor their relatives, will not run in elective posts nor meddle in local governance should the partition pushes through, then it would be more believable that they are really concerned with the economic development of Camarines Sur. To date, however, and while the legislative process is still ongoing, talks are already in the mills on who should run for governor in the proposed Nueva Camarines.

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