Bishops hope Duterte supports for creation of Samar region

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TACLOBAN City, July 4, 2016— Samar bishops are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte would support a campaign to declare the island a separate region from Eastern Visayas.

Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez said the creation of a new administrative region is for the development of the poor provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar.

“It is good for its progress because all the projects and programs from the national (government) will go directly to the island,” Varquez said.

The campaign started last year through the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) convened by bishops Varquez, Emmanuel Trance of Catarman and Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog.

SIPPAD is a partnership of the Church, government, academe, and civil society in the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar.

“I believe that all the people of Samar Island also support this proposal to make the island of Samar as one region,” he said.

According to the 2015 first quarter statistics released by the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA), the Samar provinces are among poorest in the country.

Northern Samar was fourth in the list, Eastern Samar ranked 11th, while Western Samar was on the 14th spot.

Varquez also said that Duterte’s push for a federal system of government is not an impediment to the campaign to separate Samar from Leyte provinces and Biliran Island.

“We have to propose first as one region and if in case later on the Philippines becomes a federal state, we can also propose that the island of Samar will become one sub-state. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)

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