One Quezon

Quezon Province, no doubt, is one big stretch of a country. A former governor once mused that Pres. Quezon, being a semi-dictator in his time, personally delineated the metes and bounds of his province, Tayabas, using a pencil in the presence of the chiefs of the Bureau of Lands and the present day National Mapping Authority. He made it a point that Tayabas had a taste of the Pacific, the belly of China Sea, the cheeks of Sierra Madre, the heels of Mts. Cadig and Labo, and the sharp elbow of Ragay Gulf.

LAND IS A MAJOR ASSET OF QUEZON

Quezon is indeed geographically unique. It pre-empted Laguna and Rizal from the sea. Thus, present day development plans integrate the geography of Quezon allowing the landlocked provinces access to the waterlines. This might also be the reason why our neighboring provinces look at our tie lines with envy. Almost everywhere, we are beset with boundary disputes and not one of them is satisfactorily resolved. In 1998, we had a rare opportunity to fine comb the vastness of Quezon.

Not an unchartered frontier, Quezon province’s enormity, breadth and length, is awesome. While along the northern fringes of Gen. Nakar, you feel as though you are in Nueva Ecija or Vizcaya and the spoken word thereabouts has a hint of “apay ti didyay”; while in Infanta or Real, you’re in the ribs Laguna and Rizal mouthing the Siniloanins famous “ay naku, nakakita ako ng tren sa Tutuban, habang-haba, sunor-sunor!”; if you are in San Antonio, you hear the twang in words “aba’y asan ka na ga? Lugar ng barako na ire”; or somewhere in the peripheries of Calauag or Tagkawayan “oragon, sain ka maduman?” Moving southern phallus-deep into San Andres, goodness you’ll be talking Greek, Waray and Bisaya “Ano an iyo kinahanglan, mga manunulay?” Wait a minute, have you been to Patnanungan and Jomalig? Why, you are practically a stone’s throw away from Waikiki dancing the hula near the navel of the Pacific. Thus, once you have roamed Quezon you would have duplicated the feat of Vasco da Gama.

QUEZON: THE IDEAL INDUSTRIAL HUB?

Our soil consists of sandy loam. Pres. Quezon knew that only the coconut could successfully thrive in our land. He was right, in the short haul. Soon christened Tayabas, after discarding the archaic Kalilayan, the province became coconut country. While not a single nook of its terrain is planted to coconut, the character of the tree became the character of its people.

Whenever we see bulldozers cutting the nourishing lands of Laguna, nakakapanghinayang as Laguna’s lands are for agriculture. The same is true with Batangas. Bakit ang mga industrial estate ay nasa Rizal, Laguna at Batangas samantalang napakaganda ng kanilang kalupaan at patubigan? Quezon, given the access right to infrastructure should be the site for industrial zones.

There are good locations for export processing zones: the Pagbilao reclamations, Plaridel or Hondagua with its cantilevered natural coastlines, Unisan with its rolling California-like landscape, and the expanse of the Quirino Highway in the 4 th district – all 30 kilometers of it from Tabugon to the boundary of Del Gallego. Mabato at mabuhangin ang kalupaan natin, not fully suited for an agricultural economy, except the Bondoc Peninsula.

We are superior locations for container ports, expressways, airports, refrigeration installations, manufacturing hubs and the like. By opening up these areas to export processing zones, we are giving our people access to employment. We cease to be a migratory people. With their multiplier effect, foreign investments ripple towards alternative livelihood better than the 45-day waiting period of the now dwindling niogan. Awash with economic opportunities, the extra freebie cures the perennial insurgency problem besetting the province. A full stomach is an antidote against false ideologies.

WE LACK ENLIGHTENED LEADERS

Before, a 10-hectare niogan could send the entire brood to college producing MDs, lawyers, and engineers. How about now? Need I say more? Some crackpots look at legislated division as the panacea of the ills plaguing the province. Korea was sliced into two, just like Germany after the Second World War. History tells us that dividing one contiguous land and people does not generally spell prosperity. North Korea is now on the verge of famine and obscurity. Its people are suffering from ignorance and abject mindless communist dictatorship as reported by Time (June 26, 2000) during the recent historic visit of President Kim Dae Jung to the North:

“The two societies are light-years apart as well. In the north, an entire generation of children has been stunted by years of malnutrition. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than 1 million North Koreans have died of hunger in recent years amid a nationwide agricultural collapse. A massive outpouring of international food aid kept the numbers from climbing much higher. Foreign visitors come back with tales of doctors carrying out operations without anesthetics, of hospitals washing and reusing cotton swabs. In Pyongyang, the rhythms of life hark back to a previous century: the city goes dark at night. And the most common way of getting around town is by foot across the border in Seoul, where cars clog the streets and cell phones are ubiquitous, the 21st century is well under way.”

East Germany failed to measure up to the technological advances of its relations in the west. Masyadong malayo na yata tayo. Closer, let’s come home to the familiar.

THE CASE OF AURORA

Quezon province was geographically decapitated when Aurora was declared an independent province and Baler, its capital. The raison d’etre for divorcing Baler from Lucena was its alleged obvious physical isolation from the rest of Tayabas. They said that one has to travel all the way to Cabanatuan to reach the birthplace of Manuel L. Quezon and to transact business in Lucena City, a good 250 kms.

The southern politicians from Santayana-to Constantino- to Robles-to Alcala-to Caliwara were complaining about the difficulty of campaigning in that godforsaken place, and in the wet month of November at that! They were talking about waves as big as super tankers, and travel by land, veritable lunar landscape, was a death-defying adventure. “Kasya ang 6×6 truck kapag nabuslo ka,” Adiong Caliwara, in one amusing anecdote, told us. “Mangangampanya ka doon, napakahirap pumunta katapus-tapusan isang pamilya lang naman ang pupuntahan mo, ayos na.” One may ask, ano na ang nangyari sa Aurora? Aba , ikaw na ang sumagot diyan.

In one issue of the Inquirer, a Baler correspondent interviewed a jeepney driver who plied the Baler- Cabanatuan route. His view was a revelation. To date, the roads from Nueva Ecija to Baler and its neighboring towns of Maria Aurora, Dipaculao all the way to Casiguran and Disalag up north, are in state of disrepair. As if we were caught in a time warp, the same road condition as what Robles, et al. encountered during their time, exists today. And you are talking of 60 years ago or some four generations past, yet Aurora now is ruled by the Angaras, a dyed-in-the-wool Quezon family.

THE OLD TANADA OPPOSED DIVISION

Atty. Jorge Vargas volunteered the information that during the legislative hearings on the bill recommending the separation of Aurora from Quezon, the venerable Senador Enchong Tanada sent an urgent wire to Lucena pleading to the local leadership, “please object to the bill proposing the autonomy of Aurora as a distinct local unit”. He said that weaning Aurora from Quezon was not the solution to charting its future or the prospects of progress for the whole province as it would only create homegrown principalia interested only in personal economic advancement. He was proved correct by what we witness today. Let us not talk about pinagpalang kahirapan. Whose kahirapan? For the people or for Kongresman Poncio Pilato? The Bishop of Lucena is keen on the division. That was when he reigned supreme in the Gumaca diocese. He thinks that the 4th District is historically ignored. Somebody is humoring the good bishop.

Truth to tell, no one is serious in pushing the bill dividing Quezon, except those with scandalous political agenda. Kami na ika ang hari sa distrito namin. As Benjamin Franklin said during the signing of the Declaration of Independence creating what is now known as the indivisible United States, “we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. Right now, we have not heard from the good bishop if he is still a kindred soul of the proponent of the segregation.

Besides, there is a well-known, existing in-depth study by the DILG published in the Inquirer that says in a nutshell – it is more expensive for the central government to finance a new local government unit whether it be a city, province, town, or barangay than to maintain the original unit. Rightly, because the new creation entails a new bureaucracy foist to inflict to its new constituencies the red tape that comes with it.

As the economist, Merton Miller said while explaining his M and M theorem that won him the economics Nobel prize in 1990, “if you take money out of your left pocket and put it in your right pocket you are no richer. The shape and number of pieces do not affect the size of the pizza”. The creation of a new pocket entails expenses, then why create a separate pocket in the first place? Since we are no richer, we become poorer. If the trend is to make big – Bigger, why persist in transforming small – Smaller?

The new province as proposed is ready to be devoured by home grown chiefs interested only in pelf and privileges. The family of the frustrated governor from the Bondoc Peninsula shall smother us poor Silanganins with their brand of skewed politics. Gagawin lang kaming hanapbuhay ng pamilyang ito.

ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS

Remember that the power behemoths are all in 1st District. Quezon del Norte takes the 1st and the 2nd. QPL and First Energy, formerly Mirant, a total investment of US$2B, are both in the 1st District. The 2nd district boasts of commercial and industrial lands meteoric in value than those of the 3rd and the 4th. Income from real property tax alone in Metro-Lucena, the crown jewel of Quezon, ? i.e., the City of Lucena, Sariaya, Candelaria, Tayabas, and Pagbilao is enough to backstop the annual government operations of the province. On the other hand, what does the 4th boasts of? We only have the Philippine Flour Mills in Hondagua, Lopez. PFM pays miniscule land tax to Lopez certainly insufficient to support a new province.

How about the 3rd District of the Suarezes? The local treasurers of the 12 municipalities have no official record yet on how much that section of the Province pays in land taxes. The good congressman of the 4th District appears abysmally misinformed. Unless he wants to rename Quezon del Sur as Province of Tanada after his name sake, the former Senator Lorenzo Tanada.

With the current cutting edge technology, the 40 towns and Lucena City can be wired in one loop and by a flick of a finger call in a teleconference the mayors of Jomalig, Guinayangan, San Andres, and San Antonio.

The Bondoc Circumferential Road was made possible by a foreign grant. What happened to the almost P1B CDF of the Suarezes from 1992 to 2007? To date, the Tayabas-Sampaloc-Mauban road sphere remains unfinished, thanks to the sloth and stupidity of Ex-Governor Enverga who gets reelected time and again. By allowing dismemberment, instead of kicking out mindless trapos who ruled the political roost for generations, we betray our state of mind as masochists.

GERRYMANDERING THE SOUTH

We have seen the Plazas gobbling down Agusan del Norte; the Chiongbians, Saranggani; the Antoninos, Dadiangas; the Lobregats lording it over in Zamboanga del Sur, etc. Quezon with its proud tradition and open-minded public has not elected a movie star yet…and any dynasty for that matter. Many tried and failed. Idolatry has no place in these parts. This ploy however is effective in bringing home the message to Lucena that the fate of the province does not depend on it. The choice of leaders is not a monopoly of the second district. The people of Lucena being more, presumably, cosmopolitan and urbanite are, again presumably, broadminded, issue-conscious and do not generally pander on the inanities of politicians.

The whole of Quezon, with its enlightened electorate must select men and women who best represent the ideal Quezonian as a public servant. And they can be found from all the corners of the province. Otherwise, the rest of the province will nurture tampo, which in the end might snowball into resentment for being left out, and therefore, clamor for division. This sentiment is no longer just a sliver of thought – it has reached a concrete stage in the form of the Quezon del Sur bill that has passed muster in Congress.

Once the choice of future leaders is pervasive and truly representative, then perish the thought of dismemberment.

14 Replies to “One Quezon”

  1. Let me tell you people, those who complained that their place is being neglected by politicians. Think about it. The tiny town in Quezon where I grew up was isolated then. a little bit of rain and we could not get out. As a result it was spared by the advancing Japanese and the dreaded guerillas. Not anymore, it’s now like Divisoria. Besides, would it be nice to know all your townsfolk where every body respect each other or else.

  2. HI, Sonny, KEEP IT UP!!and I’M so proud of you. Kmzta pala, i know,sana khit konti ma-alala mo ako, ka-batch ko cna Joy Tolentino, me idea ka na ba, if not ok laang. Keep up your work, marami kming ssuporta cu,I still worked here in Libya since 1985,.And evrytime na free ako, parati kng bnubuksan ang web ng YANO, so ,nkta ko name mo, and i know ur so popular already, Again KEEP IT UP SONNY, n me i’m proud na ako baga ay taga CALAUAG.

  3. yes to hati quezon contend that they are pro because they witnessed that districts 3 and 4 are being left behind, no proper roads, irrigations, bridges, hospitals,etc because they are being unnoticed and neglected by the government, because they are far from the government…! how’s that? really? so they must mean that if we divide quezon, there’ll gonna be like roads and bridges or whatever that will come up?! ofcourse not, you know what will come up? another set of corrupt officials! nantes is not a perfect leader but then who is? in politics all are evil but then we have to choose the lesser evil…if a leader is good then he can progress his kingdom without dividing it, the problem here is that its our leaders who are not in harmony with each others so if one has a project,its hard for them to pursue it for others are not cooperating! its their problem,not ours! do not include people of quezons in your childish and worthless dispute! NO TO QUEZON!

  4. Hi Atty Pulgar, thanks a lot for being alert and concern. Please count me in. I will surely do the little I could to support this worthy advocacy.

    If I may add my two-cent worth, I wonder what the present leadership could accomplish with a dismembered Quezon Province and the tremendously reduced number of voters in the resulting provinces, when with one Quezon and its way over a million voting population, they could not deliver the assistance and infrastructure that our province badly needed and richly deserved. Just posing a food for serious thought and consideration of the proponents, i.e., if they have genuine interest of Quezon and our provincemates.

    Again, thank you and God bless.jr

  5. Hi Sonny, thanks a lot for being alert, your concern and effort. Please count me in.

    If I may add my two-cent worth, if with united Quezon and its more than a million voting population, our province leadership is helpless in securing the needed infrastructure

  6. Tim: We are now organizing a group to oppose the division of quezon. I’ll let you know the details later. In the meantime, campaign for the negative vote.

    Daks: Thanks. btw, you may visit calauag.com the latest on our hometown. sa plebisito, let’s vote nope sa pagkatay ng NoseK…

  7. Get back to Farming. Modern Farming and Get rid of those Politicos who Lived and Thrived on Jueteng.

    I am a Quezonian all my life. My family hailed from coconut farming clans of Lopez and Calauag. But of course my grandparents break their backs so that my parent become teachers and not farmers like them. These babyboomers generations (like my parents) after long years in the public service are now retired, or either “five feet below” had us schooled well in Manila universities and we “the kids” are now either Global Pinoys (OFWs) or working somewhere in Manila. I choose to stay. Being the latter, i have frequent chance of visiting Quezon for i support a group of locale in a Gumaca village market their banana chips to Metro Manila. I also sell Quezon souvenir shirts in a selected site in the province. What i saw is lack of development of infrastructure particularly in the 3rd and 4th districts. Because this province is always an opposition to the goverment (Erap won here, Gloria lost here). The dream of completely cementing Catanauan to Lopez and Lopez to Buenavista road will forever be a promise that are meant to be broken. “Mahina daw tayo sa Malakanyang dahil ang mga kongresman natin ay oposisyon”. But one doesnt have to be an administration representative or governor to get that Mega Infrastructure budget that Gloria is saying. “Mas mapalad pa ata ang Mindanao at Visayas provinces sa atin”. One more thing, modern farming must be radiated down to the smallest of farmer. Support them so that the mayor dont have to go to the Jueteng lord to ask for assistance “ay madami pong humihingi ng tulong ay kaya tuloy ang bola”. Example: Last year, we had typhoon, 2 two vast storms that affected farmers and destroyed our banana in Lopez and in Bondoc Peninsula. I dont exactly know, but not one in the area have told me that a municipal or a provincial agriculture officer or a congressman talked about helping them how to plant new banana suck (suhi) the right way. So that in few months, “may pang-tiangge na tayo. “Di na tayo aasa sa jueteng.” Now, our bananas for banana chips were sourced from as far General Santos, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. (average of 20-24 thousand finger of banana per manufacturer monthly) A few years ago, i remember, it was Lopez anniversary, and a congressman was invited to talk in front of mostly farmers. He kept on commenting about national political issues and what he think is the problem. He could have shared to them that, you know “mga ka-distrito, ito ang programa ko sa agrikultura sa bayan ninyo..” Point blank. When you are in the congress you legislate law or approved bills”. But when you are in your district, one must focus in helping them to get rid of the number one problem. Poverty. Point-blank. We are a great peninsula with a vast of potential waiting to discover. We can be a backdoor to key areas, a modern agro-industrial center in the heart of Luzon. Tourism is underexplored (look at Camarines sur, Wake boarding are visited by tourist worlwide). Lets go beyond Pahiyas. Global trends possibilities are vast.

    That our fruits and vegatables sans typhoons and floods can make it to the world market way beyond copras. And that local autonomy means more resoursefulness for mayors and barangay captains down to “simpleng tao”. National Government agencies (DA, DAR, DENR) when fully maximized and sourced through can give us more assistance more than the “jueteng intellihensya”.

    I prayed for our politicos that they may find their heart and really think of this great province. The people will follow. We need leaders!

    That would give us more reason to stay and make us proud Quezonians.

  8. Is there any organized group that is opposed to the division of our province? I am willing to volunteer my time, talent, and little treasure to oppose this crazy proposition.

    Please let me know.

    tim

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