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Legislator will present bill in Congress to create the region of the island of Samar


TACLOBAN CITY — A lawmaker calls for the creation of a Samar Island Region (SIR) to address widespread poverty and concerns for peace and order on the country’s third-largest island.

Representative Marcelino Libanan of the 4Ps party list group said he would introduce a bill in the House of Representatives in response to a call by three bishops in Samar to have a separate region for the island of Samar.

“I will introduce the One Samar, One Region measure when our session in the House of Representatives resumes,” he said at a press conference on July 15.

Congress is scheduled to resume its regular sessions on July 23, a day before President Marcos delivers his second state of the nation address.

Libanan, the House minority floor leader, believed that a SIR would bring economic development to the island, which is made up of the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

The allocation of funds for development-related projects, he added, would be higher if Samar were a separate region compared to the current situation where it shares the allocation with Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran provinces.

Libanan said he would push for the creation of the SIR, especially since the current president of the Chamber, Martín Romualdez, as well as President Marcos’s mother, Imelda, are both from Leyte.

The three Catholic bishops of the island of Samar, Crispin Várquez of Borongan, Emmanuel Trance of Catarman and Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, earlier pushed for the creation of the SIR to address poverty and other concerns on the island.

The three provinces of Samar have a combined population of 1.11 million.

A study by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2021 showed that Northern Samar had a poverty rate of 19.3 percent, Eastern Samar 29.4 percent, and Samar 27.0 percent.

The island also continues to be harassed by the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA), especially in northern Samar, where the communist guerrilla fronts are based.

Libanan said he had an informal discussion with Governors Sharee Ann Tan of Samar and Governor Edwin Ongchuan of Northern Samar, who expressed their support for the creation of SIR.

One of his priorities, Libanan said, is to build a road network that would not only connect the municipalities of Eastern Samar with its capital, Borongan, but also with Samar and Northern Samar.

Last Saturday, Libanan led the inauguration of a road project that will connect the city of Maydolong in eastern Samar, starting from Barangay Del Pilar, to Balagon village, Basey city in Samar.

A day earlier, President Marcos also spearheaded the opening of the Pacific Samar Coastal Highway Project in Palapag City, Northern Samar, which will not only connect the cities of Palapag, Laoang and Catubig, all in Northern Samar, but also the city of Arteche in Eastern Samar.


3 bishops seek the creation of the Region of the Island of Samar | Investigator News


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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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