President Rodrigo Duterte signed last week Republic Act 11259 dividing Palawan into three new provinces.
The new provinces will be known as Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur — which will be the mother province.
Palawan del Norte is composed of the municipalities of El Nido, Taytay, Coron, Culion, Busuanga, and Linapacan. Its capital town is Taytay.
Palawan Oriental is composed on the towns of San Vicente, Roxas, Araceli, Dumaran, Agutaya, Cuyo, Cagayancillo, Magsaysay and Araceli. Its capital town is Roxas.
Palawan del Sur on the other hand consists of Aborlan, Narra, Quezon, Jose P. Rizal, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Balabac and Kalayaan. Its capital town is Brooke’s Point.
Puerto Princesa City, formerly a component city of Palawan, is considered a highly urbanized city through Presidential Declaration 1264 since 2007.
The three provinces will be created once ratified through a plebiscite to be held in 2020.
Palawan is the country’s highest province in terms of its territorial jurisdiction with a total area of 14,896 square kilometers including roughly 1,780 smaller islands surrounding it.
The first set of officials of the newly created provinces will be elected in the May 2022 synchronized national and local elections.
The division of three Palawan provinces was sponsored by Congressmen Franz Josef George E. Alvarez, Frederick Abueg and Gil Acosta through House Bill 7413 filed in the House of Representatives in March 15, 2018. It was approved in both Congress before the end of 2018.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, the division of Palawan, an archipelago of 1,800 islands with a population of at least 1.1 million, complied with the requirements under Republic Act 7160 also known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
During the PDP-Laban campaign rally last April 4, 2019 at the City Coliseum, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr., hinted the possibility of the signing for the creation of new three provinces.
“Ang ibang probinsya ay hinahati sa dalawa lang, pero napaka-swerte ng Palawan. Mula sa isang probinsya ay hahatiin ito ng tatlo, at malapit nang mapirmahan ang division ng Palawan,” he said.