Do not get surprised when in the next few decades from now another mind-boggling political gerrymandering stirs anew the Bicol region. This time it will emanate from the land of the cowboys, the province of Masbate.
We will be reading an unfolding development on these, hence: Burias and Ticao islands seek to become independent or secede from Masbate to become a new province. Proponents are in deep consideration on the new province’s official name of four choices: Buricao, Buritic, Ticabur or Tibur. Names foreign sounding but very okay, gives us the flamboyant flavor at least in name a-la Mediterranean if not the Carribean. (Nueva Masbate is a good one, too!)
Depending on your point of view, it may come sooner than the wildest imagination for many of us, thanks mostly to the august house of representatives, which is full of that funny, weird and ludicrous ideas.
For have we not seen unfold the creation of provinces while the Philippines used to be a colony of Spain and the United States of America up to the present internet- and technology- enhanced times. From a handful of provinces to what we have now (todate, 80 and counting,) with land areas just a few hundred of square kilometers, a population so puny and sparse and an impoverished provincial coffer so reliant to the national share of their internal revenue allotment. Without the IRA, these struggling provincial governments we will most likely find at the threshold of the Payatas garbage dump site.
But it seemed very okay since everyone have their own place in the sun to rule and play around, never mind the heavy and burgeoning effect on the government’s financial and fiscal side. Everybody else gets to have his/her own turf: My beloved province, they will refer to.
More provinces have since been created but the total land area of the country remained constant. What is not is the thrill, squables, debates and (perhaps, direct or indirect gains, pardon the pun!) politicians get from decapitating provinces into halves thereby transforming the resulting LGUs to “have nothings.” Mendicants in the true meaning of the word.
The island of Ticao has 4 municipalities and 72 barangays with a combined population (2007) of 80,351 and a land area of 38.485 sq. kms. Burias island has two municipalities and 44 barangays with the total population of 82,072 and land area of 42.963 sq. km. The two islands has a total of 116 barangays with population of 162,423 and land area of 814.48 sq. km.
Now compare these to the current Philippine’s fifteen smallest provinces in terms of land area and population. Or, make them two provinces, two governors, two congressmen if you will, still they won’t hug the bottom other than Batanes (Luzon), Siquijor (Visayas) or Camiguin (Mindanao)!