Proposed Davao Occidental province gets ground in Senate

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Friday, May 18, 2012


DEBATES on the proposed law to create the new province of Davao Occidental were recently closed after the Senate passed the bill on its second reading.

The proposed province will be composed of the municipalities of Sta. Maria, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani, under House Bill 4451 sponsored by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Its capital would be Malita, a municipality with a population of 106,135 and an area of 88,337 hectares. It has the largest population next to Digos City, capital of Davao Del Sur province.

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If approved, a new Davao del Sur will now be comprised of the towns of Malalag, Sulop, Kiblawan, Padada, Hagonoy, Matanao, Bansalan, Magsaysay, Sta. Cruz and Digos as the provincial seat.

A counterpart bill in the House of Representative was passed in May last year.

Marcos cited Davao del Sur’s sprawling land area of 3,934 square kilometers as hindrance for the Provincial Government to serve efficiently.

"The distances of Digos City, Davao del Sur's provincial capital, from other municipalities in its second congressional district are far-off that impairs the effective delivery of basic services to the constituents, as well as the access of its locals to government offices," he said.

For instance, the town of Sarangani takes about 10 hours by boat to reach the municipality of Malita, the proposed site of the new province of Davao Occidental, and about three hours from the municipality of Malita to Digos City, he said.

Citing data from the National Statistics Office, Marcos said the proposed Davao Occidental has a population of 293,780, which is more than the 250,000 population required by the Local Government Code.

It also has a land area of 2,183.97 square meters as certified by the Land Management Bureau, which is above the 2,000 square kilometers minimum requirement.

The average annual regular income of the province, for 2008 and 2009, is P113,220,081.44, way higher than the minimum requirement of P20 million. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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