The House Committee on Local Government has approved a bill seeking to divide Palawan into three provinces.
The panel, chaired by South Cotabato and General Santos City Rep. Pedro Acharon, passed House Bill 7413, filed by Palawan Reps. Franz Alvarez, Frederick Abueg and Gil Acosta.
“The proposed division of Palawan into three provinces will be able to bring closer expanded services to areas not previously served. Resource management and delivery of basic public services will be more efficient as more government officials, both elected and appointed, will work on programs for the betterment of their constituents,” the authors of the bill said.
House Bill 7413 seeks the creation of provinces of Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur.
Under the measure, Palawan del Norte shall be composed of municipalities of El Nido, Taytay, Coron, Linapacan, Culion, and Busuanga.
Palawan Oriental shall include San Vicente, Roxas, Dumaran, Cuyo, Agutaya, Magsaysay, and Cagayancillo.
Palawan Del Sur,shall group towns of Kalayaan, Aborlan, Narra, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point, Rizal, Quezon, Bataraza and Balabac.
HB 7413 proposes that future Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) will be allocated proportionately to the three new provinces, in accordance with land areas and population.
The appropriation for the 2018 IRA for the province of Palawan is P2.37 billion.
Alvarez said the Philippine Constitution allows the division towards the creation of the new province.
Citing the Local Government Code, he said a province may be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary substantially altered, only by an act of Congress and subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to be conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the local government unit or units directly affected. The plebiscite shall be held within 120 days from the date of the effectivity of the proposed Act.
Alvarez expressed hope that the bill will be approved by the House plenary on third and final reading when Congress resumes session in July.