Palawan to remain as one province

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Palawan will remain as one province after more than 172,000 residents voted to reject the proposal to divide it into three different provinces.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) proclaimed the victory of “No” votes after canvassing 22 of the 23 municipalities’ certificates of canvass.

“On the basis of the foregoing, we hereby proclaim to ratify the division of the province of Palawan pursuant to Republic Act No. 11259 was rejected and disapproved on the basis of the votes cast in the province of Palawan on March 13, 2021,” the PBOC said in the decision.

Based on the official partial results, a total of 172,304 Palaweños voted “no” for the ratification of Republic Act (RA) 11259, or the Act Dividing the Province of Palawan into three provinces namely: Palawan Oriental, Palawan del Norte, and Palawan del Sur.

A total of 122,223 residents voted “yes,” with a difference of 50,081 votes.

“The ‘No’ votes got the highest, thereby, rejecting the division of Palawan into three provinces,” Antonio Kho, Commissioner-in-charge of the March 13 plebiscite, said in a media interview after the PBOC made the announcement.

Kho thanked the people who participated and those who assisted them in holding the referendum.

“We’d like to congratulate the voters for participating actively in this vote. Based on the estimates we have achieved a 60 percent voters’ turnout,” he said. “We’d like also to extend our appreciation and thanks to the teachers, who participated, who helped us conduct this election. Our peace officers and security officers from the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as well as the police.”

He also thanked the health professionals who joined the election amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Kho said the Commission on Election has delivered a promise by counting the votes correctly.

“As we promised, Comelec will count the vote correctly and we have delivered a promise. Our next election will be bigger in 2022,” he added.

Only 22 of the 23 municipalities’ certificates of votes have been canvassed.

The PBOC did not wait for the certificate of votes from the municipality of Kalayaan islands after the oppositor has filed a motion to terminate canvass, in view of the insurmountable lead enjoyed by the “no” votes. The proponents also joined the motion.

The canvass reports that have been received and canvassed are from the municipalities of Narra, Brooke’s Point, El Nido, Aborlan, Sofronio Española, Rizal, Bataraza, San Vicente, Taytay, Roxas, Balabac, Quezon, Dumaran, Araceli, Linapacan, Coron, Culion, Busuanga, Cagayancillo, Agutaya, Cuyo and Magsaysay. 

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