It is time that the province of Cebu be split into two provinces, adding Occidental Cebu to existing Cebu province.
The idea is the campaign battle-cry of former senator now Toledo City, Cebu mayor John “Sonny” Osmeña who is seeking a seat in the House of Representatives representing the third congressional district.
However, Anti-split Cebu, led by “One Cebu” standard bearer for governor Rep. Gwen Garcia, said the creation of smaller provinces out of Cebu will affect adversely Cebu’s historical prominence.
Osmeña said if elected as congressman of the 3rd district, he will push for the creation of Occidental Cebu which will comprise the entire district covering mid-west towns from the municipality of Barili to Tuburan town. He said he will also move for the creation of two congressional seats in his proposed new province.
A decade ago, three bills had been filed in Congress seeking to create smaller provinces out of Cebu. One bill called for the creation of six provinces out of Cebu. The idea was patterned after that of Davao which eventually was divided into three provinces: Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental.
However anti-split proponents said there is no basis to divide Cebu into so many parts. “Why do you want to have six provinces in one island? While the problem is delivery of basic services, you do not have to sacrifice the people’s needs, what is of utmost important is how to come up with a better procedure on how to effectively deliver the basic services to the people,” anti-split Cebu advocates said.
One of the claims of the split Cebu proponents is that it is more effective to govern a smaller province. ”If governing a smaller province would not mean spending more but it is going to be times six. You cannot have six provinces with only one province having all the components that are necessary to operate a province. So all the components that you have in the province of Cebu in the Capitol will have to be duplicated in the five other provinces. I do not think it is going to solve any problem.Maybe it will just make winning the election easier for some people. But it will not solve the problem of the delivery of the basic services. It will not solve the problem of governance,” Cebu’s 3rd district Congresswoman Gwen Garcia said, emphasizing there is not enough basis to split Cebu, in lieu of just one province.
Osmeña claimed the district that will be converted to a new Cebu province will meet all the requirements in the creation of a province -- income, population and land area. In all probability, this bill if filed again in Congress will be passed but there has to be a referendum, and when you call for a referendum, you are going to ask all the towns of the entire province that are to be affected by the bill.