In response to the call of 3 Samar bishops

CONNECTIVITY. Rep. Marcelino ‘Nonoy’ Libanan(2nd from left) of the 4Ps party-list representative said that he will file a measure on ‘One Samar, One Region’ to answer the call of the three Samar bishops. Photo shows Libanan spearheading a groundbreaking of road that will connect Eastern Samar and Samar provinces, starting from Maydolong in Eastern Samar to Basey, Samar leading to Tacloban City.

MAYDOLONG, Eastern Samar-The call of the bishops of Samar Island to have a “One Samar, One Region” has gained grounds with Rep. Marcelino Libanan of the 4Ps party-list group to file such a measure.

This was disclosed by Libanan, who also acts as the minority floor leader of the House of Representatives, who said that he will file such a measure with the resumption of the session of the Congress.

Both chambers of Congress are to resume their respective regular sessions on July 23, a day before President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., is to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“I will file the One Samar, One Region measure with the resumption of our session. This is in response to the call of the three bishops of Samar to have a One Samar, One Region,” the party-list solon said on Saturday (July 15).

According to Libanan, a separate Samar Region will result in the development of the island, which is comprised of (western) Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar which has a combined population of 1.11 million.

He said that with a separate region, the allocation of funds for development-related projects would be higher compared to the current situation as it shares funding allocation with the Leyte Island provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Biliran.

He said that he will ‘lobby’ that his measure will be passed and approved, notably to House Speaker Martin Romualdez who is from Leyte, and Pres. Marcos who is also considered a Leyteño whose mother, Imelda, is from Leyte.

Earlier, the bishops of Samar Island, Crispin Varquez of Borongan diocese, Emmanuel Trance of the Catarman diocese and Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog diocese, has earlier called for the creation of One Samar, One Region.

The prelates claim that separating the Samar Island from Leyte Island will result to development of the island, one of the poorest in the country.

They also claim that a Samar region could also hasten in the promotion of investors, address peace and order particularly the insurgency, and better road connectivity, among others.

They have called on President Marcos on this regard for a support for the creation of Samar Region which is about 333,300 hectares, the third biggest in the country.

Rep. Libanan said that he already made an informal discussion with Governors Sharee Ann Tan of Samar and Edwin Ongchuan of Northern Samar.

“And they both expressed their support for the creation of One Samar, One Region,” he said.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone earlier throw his support on this proposal.
The three Samar provinces have a combined population of 1.11 million with high poverty incidence remain to be a problem.

Based on the poverty incidence among families conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2021, Northern Samar has a record of 19.3 percent, Eastern Samar at 29.4 percent, and Samar at 27.0 percent.

The island is also a focus area on the insurgency campaign of the government where most New People’s Army (NPA) operations are on the island, notably in Northern Samar.
Meantime, Libanan said that one of his priorities is constructing a road network that will not only connect the municipalities of Eastern Samar to its capital city of Borongan but to Samar and Northern Samar as well.

On Saturday, Libanan led in the groundbreaking of a 2.48 kms road construction that will connect the town of Maydolong in Eastern Samar, starting from Barangay Del Pilar to the village of Balagon, Basey town in Samar.

Last Friday(July 14), no less than Pres. Marcos led in the opening of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project in Palapag town, Northern Samar which will not only connect the towns of Palapag, Laoang, and Catubig, all in Northern Samar, but even Arteche in Eastern Samar.(JOEY A. GABIETA)