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Plebiscite results favor new Davao province

06:50 PM October 30, 2013

DIGOS CITY – The coming into being of Southern Mindanao’s fifth province is now more apparent as returns from majority of Davao del Sur’s 14 towns and this city heavily favored the law that sought to create it, the Commission on Elections said Wednesday.

Ma. Febes Barlaan, Davao del Sur election officer, said results from eight towns and this city showed that “No” trailed by 65,801 votes behind “Yes,” which has 105,254 as of early afternoon Wednesday.

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Barlaan said votes still waiting to be canvassed by the provincial board of canvassers were mostly from towns known to be in favor of the new province’s creation.

Even if all the returns have yet to be canvassed, Barlaan has confidently declared late Tuesday that “Yes has won.”

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Added to region

Once formally declared as a new province, Davao Occidental – composed of the second district towns of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani – will join the provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in forming the Davao region.

The creation of the new province was initially proposed by former Representative Marc Douglas Cagas IV when his father, Douglas Cagas, was still governor of Davao del Sur.

Under Cagas’ proposal, Davao Occidental was to be formed by all towns in the second district.

As the May elections drew near, however, Cagas withdrew his proposal but the idea of creating a new province was kept alive by second district Rep. Franklin Bautista.

Bautista’s version of the law contained the basic elements of Cagas’ proposal but the composition of the province was reduced to only Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani after officials of the other second district towns of Kiblawan, Malalag and Sulop, which are known to be Cagas turfs, opted out.

Futile opposition

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The Bautista version was passed by Congress and signed by President Benigno Aquino III into law.

Former Representative Cagas tried to block the plebiscite at the Supreme Court but the tribunal junked his petition.

The younger Cagas, however, continued to oppose the approval in a plebiscite of Bautista’s version of the law creating the new province. He spent money on tarpaulins listing the negatives of having a new province.

Wilhelm Sukyo, Southern Mindanao director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said the DILG will help officers in charge run the new provincial government until a set of officials has been elected in 2016. Eldie Aguirre and Orlando Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Comelec, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, law, Plebiscite, Regions
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