Davao Occidental, PH’s 81st province

Digos City, Davao del Norte – The creation of Davao Occidental was formally proclaimed yesterday in Digos City after more than 50 percent of the voters here said “Yes” on the plebiscite question proposing the creation of the new province. The plebiscite was held simultaneously with Monday’s barangay polls. Davao Occidental thus became the country’s 81st province. Republic Act No. 10360, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III in January 2013, created the “Charter of the Province of Davao Occidental.” The new province is composed of Don Marcelino, Malita, Sarangani, Jose Abad Santos and Sta. Maria, all from the Second District towns of Davao del Sur. Malita, proposed to be the capital seat of the new province, is a fast-growing coastal town just like the four other towns proposed for inclusion in the new province. The election of its local officials would be held on 2016. Kiblawan, Malalag, and Sulop, which is also part of the Second District, are now merged with the First District towns of Davao del Sur like Hagonoy, Magsaysay, Matanao, Sta. Cruz, Padada, Bansalan and it’s capital Digos City. Maria Febes M. Barlaan, Davao del Sur provincial officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said it is very clear that the people wanted the creation of Davao Occidental. Barlaan said out of the 553,092 registered voters in Davao del Sur, about 300,000 participated in the barangay election. “We are not surpised on the number of the actual voters here since people are thinking that this is just a barangay election. What surprised us is the support of the people in approving the creation of the new province,” Barlaan said.