The Senate approved on final reading on Tuesday, March 9, the bill seeking to divide Maguindanao – part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – into two provinces.
The Senate adopted the bill that the House of Representatives passed on June 1, 2020. The measure will be up for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
Once the law is signed, the two new provinces will be called Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur, which were originally proposed to be called Northern Maguindanao and Southern Maguindanao.
Maguindanao del Norte will be composed of the municipalities of Barira, Buldon, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Northern Kabuntalan, Parang, North Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, and Talitay. Its seat of government will be Datu Odin Sinsuat.
Maguindanao del Sur will be composed of Ampatuan, Buluan, Datu Abdulla Sangki, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Datu Montawal, Datu Paglas, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun, Guindulungan, Mamasapano, Mangudadatu, Pagalungan, Paglat, Pandag, Rajah Buayan, Sharif Aguak, Sharif Saydona Mustafa, Sultan sa Barongis, Talayan, and South Upi. Its seat of government will be Buluan.
Maguindanao has a population of 1,173,933, according to the 2015 census. It has an average annual income of P714.56 million.
In a press release, Senate committee on local government chairman Francis Tolentino said that due to Maguindanao’s size, it had become a challenge for the provincial government “to provide basic services like public health care, education, and transportation to the most remote villages.”
Dividing it into two provinces with more leaders and workers would make the two local governments “more responsive to the needs of their respective constituents,” he said.
House Bill No. 6413 was sponsored in the Senate by Tolentino and co-sponsored by senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Ramon Revilla Jr, Joel Villanueva, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. – Rappler.com