Division of Maguindanao into 2 provinces now a law; no date for plebiscite yet

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 27 May) – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the bill dividing Maguindanao province into Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte.

Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu announced in his Facebook page that Duterte signed on Wednesday Republic Act 11550, which divides the 36-municipality province into two provinces.

Province of Maguindanao. Map courtesy of Google

“Alhamdullilah, Alhamdullilah! Finally, the President has already signed into law the bill, May Allah bless and prosper our sincerest aspirations for the welfare and development of Maguindanao,” Mangudadatu, who authored House Bill 6314 seeking the division of the province, said.

If the proposed division of the province wins in a plebiscite that is yet to be scheduled, 12 municipalities will make up Maguindanao del Norte and the remaining 24 towns will form Maguindanao del Sur.

Maguindanao del Norte will get Barira, Buldon, Datu Blah Sinsuat, Kabuntalan, Matanog, Northern Kabuntalan, Parang, North Upi, Sultan Kudarat, Sultan Mastura, Talitay and Datu Odin Sinsuat, which will serve as its capital.

Maguindanao del Sur will comprise Ampatuan, Datu Abdullah 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, South Upi and Buluan, which will be the capital.

Senator Francis Tolentino, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said the division of the province aims to help boost social and economic development and promote political stability in the region.

Tolentino said the division will mean better delivery of basic services such as public health care, education and transportation to the most remote villages.

Maguindanao is part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Among the other proponents of the bill in the House are Rep. Ronnie Sinsuat of the first district of Maguindanao  and Rep. Noel Villanueva. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)