After a seemingly hopeless battle in courts and after the motions for reconsideration have been denied (with finality as per Supreme Court decision), Dinagat Island has finally attained its long dreamt provincial status. It can be recalled that Governor Geraldine Ecleo Villaroman and the Solicitor General have filed motions praying before the highest tribunal of the country to reconsider the case but all of them have been denied when SC affirmed the decision which it has previously made. In what many have ironically called as another flip-flopping decision, the Supreme Court yesterday, March 29, 2011, have ruled in favor of the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9355, creating the Province Dinagat Island with the vote of 9 as against 6.
Quite a few were made to believe that the creation of the Province of Dinagat Island was purposely made to prevent possible armed clash between the powerful clans of Surigao del Norte. I don’t think that the same is true. Being a native of Surigao, I have seen that wrest for power has never been like that. We are a generally comfortable generation of people who love and treasure peace. Hundreds of local and foreign visitors can vouch for that. For those who stood against its creation, why don’t we start right from this moment to chip away at selfishness? Any agenda for societal change should start at transformation (and that includes personal transformation too). The transformation of Dinagat has paved way for development to come rushing in not only for the islands of Dinagat but also for Siargao and for my beloved island of Bucas Grande. We should not dissipate all our efforts at endless and sterile debates. If the Province of Camiguin was created, why don’t we give Dinagat Islands some kind of a break?
This decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippines will certainly put the people of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands in jubilation after being dismayed by the earlier decision. Personally, my heart bleeds for the people of Dinagat Islands. I, too, have been saddened by the decision since I have close friends and even cousins who are working in the provincial capitol. They run the risk of losing their treasured jobs and careers in public service. I don’t care how people would interpret this decision which has been coined as another “flip-flop”. Whether the SC is correct or not in the matter and whether or not it follows the principles enshrined under the Philippine Constitution, it doesn’t hold water for me. At times, decisions must not only be based upon reasons but upon compassion as well. With this, the magic nine deserves kudos!