Cebu a region and state of its own
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - November 5, 2018 - 12:00am

Cebu is the center of the Philippines both geographically and historically. It was in Cebu in 1521 that Ferdinand Magellan (Fernando Magallanes) erected the Magellan’s Cross, making it the cradle of Christianity in Asia. It was in Cebu that Miguel Lopez de Legaspi established the Spanish seat of government in 1565. The American legislators who were hundreds of miles away from the Philippines, highly recognized the role of Cebu in nation building. The Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 otherwise known as the Jones Law after its author, Congressman William Atkinsons Jones of the State of Virginia, gave Cebu a special place in the law.

The Jones Law adopted on August 29, 1916 by the American Congress (we were governed by the Americans from 1898 up to 1935, an American serving as governor general acted as our country’s chief executive until we elected our first president, Manuel Quezon on September 16, 1935) created the Philippine Senate, making our Congress officially bicameral (it was unicameral then with the National Assembly created in 1907). The Philippines was divided into 12 senatorial districts, the first six were composed of the provinces in Luzon, while the next six were from Visayas and Mindanao.

It is no accident that of all the senatorial districts it is only the 10th Senatorial District that was composed of only one province and that is Cebu. The Americans even lumped the provinces of Bataan, Rizal, Manila, and Laguna into the 4th Senatorial District.

Our neighboring provinces were apportioned as follows; 7th Senatorial District: Iloilo and Capiz, 8th Senatorial District: Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Antique and Palawan, 9th Senatorial District: Leyte and Samar, 11th Senatorial District: Surigao, Misamis and Bohol, and 12th Senatorial District: Mountain Province, Baguio, Nueva Vizcaya, and the Department of Mindanao and Sulu.

The Department of Mindanao and Sulu (replacing the Moro Province) created by the Americans in 1914 had a Cebuano as deputy governor in the person of Antonio Minoza, who served as municipal president of Argao, Cebu. The department was composed of the provinces of Agusan, Bukidnon, Cotabato, and Davao. It was created purposely to address the problems of the Moros in Mindanao.

Cebu is indeed a state and a region of its own, it is sacrilege for advocates of tinkering with the Constitution and creating federal regions or states to lump Cebu with other provinces. Understandably, this is the result of the lack of sense of history.

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