By Vicente Labro
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 16:46:00 06/26/2010

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—The newly elected representative of the first district of Samar will pursue a pending bill in Congress creating a new province on Samar Island.

Representative-elect Mel Senen Sarmiento, the outgoing mayor of Calbayog City, said he will revive the two-year old House bill creating the Northwestern Samar province.

Sarmiento, a three-term Calbayog City mayor, stressed that the creation of a new province on Samar Island should not be discussed as a political issue but from an economic development point of view.

Then representative and now mayor-elect of Calbayog City, Reynaldo Uy, filed House Bill 3553 in Congress on Feb. 2, 2008 seeking the creation of Northwestern Samar province but this did not materialize.

Earlier, on January 2008, the city council of Calbayog City passed a resolution requesting Uy to file in Congress a bill creating Northwestern Samar composed of Calbayog and its neighboring towns to spur economic development.

Sarmiento said the proposed province would be composed of the first district of Samar, the area which he would be representing once he becomes a member of the House of Representatives.

Samar, the country’s third largest island, was a single province until 1965, when it was divided into Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar. Western Samar was later renamed Samar.

The first district is composed of Calbayog City and the island-towns of Tagapul-an, Almagro and Sto. Nino, the coastal towns of Tarangnan and Pagsanghan, the towns of San Jorge, Sta. Margarita and Gandara along the national highway and the upland town of Matuguinao.

According to Sarmiento, the first district, which he said has a population of about 500,000, is qualified to become a province and chart its own economic growth.

He cited the small provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran, both in Eastern Visayas, whose socio-economic development grew faster after they were separated from Leyte province.

He also cited other small provinces outside the region, such as Siquijor in Central Visayas, which are now progressing.

Southern Leyte, which has 18 towns and one city, and Biliran, which has only eight towns, were underdeveloped before they separated from Leyte as provinces, he said.

Southern Leyte was made a province in 1959 and Biliran in 1992.

“Because their sizes are very manageable, the population is just right and the place is accessible, it is not hard to manage,” he said.

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  1. Mao ni klase sa mga representante o congressman nga naghunahuna sa kaayohan sa iyang probinsya. Ingon ani unta Gob, dli kay magpinangutang pa hinuon aron malun od ang probinsya. Di ba during the campaign period ang mga Bando Espina way gyuy klaro nga plataporma samantalang ang team nila Cong. Chong nagkahiusa sa pagplano pagpauswag sa Biliran dha sa ila klaro nga plataporma de gobyerno sama sa paghuman ug semento sa tanang natl road sa tibuok isla, pagdani o pag ingganyar sa mga negosyante nga makatukod ug negosyo, pabrika o planta aron maoy makahatag ug trabaho sa mga Biliranon, paghatag ug P400,000 kda tuig gkan sa Congressman ug gobernador alang sa mga proyekto sa kada barangay, paghatag ug P500 monthly allowance alang sa mga maestra ug pulis ug uban pa. Ang bando Espina naa bay gibuhian nga plataporma de gobyerno? Wala gyud kay wa cla plano pagpauswag sa ato probinsya. Naa cla mga proyekto kunohay pero cla ang mas mabulahan niini.

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