DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 July) – Mindanao’s population rose from 24.14 million in 2015 to 26.25 million as of May 1, 2020, with Davao City and Bukidnon still the most populous among Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) posting an annual population growth rate of 3.26 percent, making it the country’s fastest growing region, according to the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH).
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released early this month the results of the 2020 census showing that the country’s population increased by eight million, from 100,981,437 in 2015 to 109,035,343 in 2020 as of May 1, 2020.
Mindanao’s 26.25 million accounts for 24.1% of the nationwide population.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 1179 on July 6 declaring as official the population count of the Philippines by province, city, municipality and barangay based on the 2020 CPH.
Among Mindanao’s six regions, two have breached the 5 million mark: Region 11 or the Davao region with 5.24 million and Region 10 or Northern Mindanao with 5.02M. Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) now has 3.88 million, while Caraga remains the least populous at 2.80 million.
The population count in Region 12 (4.90 M) and the BARMM (4.40M) will require adjustments as the populations of Cotabato City and 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns which voted for inclusion in the BARMM in the January and February 2019 plebiscite to ratify Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the BARMM, are still listed under Region 12 as they were still under that region during the May 2020 census. Supervision over Cotabato City and the 63 North Cotabato villages was turned over to the BARMM only in December 2020.
According to the 2020 CPH, Cotabato City has a population of 325,079. MindaNews tallied the population in the 63 villages of North Cotabato at 215,433.
9 with a million count
Nine areas in Mindanao have populations of over a million with Davao City as the most populous at 1.78 million while the eight are all provinces: Bukidnon (1.54M), North Cotabato (1.5M), Maguindanao (1.34M), Lanao del Sur (1.2M), Davao del Norte (1.12M), Zamboanga del Sur (1.1M), Zamboanga del Norte (1M) and Sulu (1M).
Among the eight provinces, seven already had populations of over a million in the 2015 census. Sulu’s population in the 2015 census was 824,731.
Two other provinces made it to the Top Ten list: South Cotabato (975,476) and Misamis Oriental (956,900).
Sultan Kudarat is the lone province with a population within the 800,000 range. Three provinces have populations over 700,000 (Lanao del Norte, Davao de Oro and Agusan del Sur); four have over 600,000 (Davao del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Surigao del Sur and Misamis Occidental), three have over 500,000 (Davao Oriental, Sarangani and Surigao del Norte), two have over 400,000 (Tawi-tawi and Basilan) and two have over 300,000 (Agusan del Norte and Davao Occidental).
The least populous provinces are island provinces: Dinagat Islands with 128,117 and Camiguin with 92,808.
Top 10 cities
The 10 most populous cities in Mindanao are spread across its six regions and have populations ranging from 210,000 to 1.78 million.
Davao City (1.78M), located in Region 11, is the most populous city and most populous area in Mindanao. Among 33 highly urbanized cities nationwide, Davao City is the third most populous after Quezon City (3M) and Manila (1.8M).
In Mindanao, the next most populous city is Zamboanga City (977,234) in Region 9; Cagayan de Oro (728,402) in Northern Mindanao; General Santos (697,315) in Region 12; Butuan (372,910) in Caraga; Iigan (363,115) in Northern Mindanao; Cotabato (325,079) in the BARMM; Tagum (296,202) in Region 11; Valencia (216,546) in Northern Mindanao and Pagadian (210,452) in Region 9.
Six of the Top Ten cities are highly urbanized cities: Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan, General Santos, Butuan and Iligan.
Seven Mindanao cities have populations of less than a hundred thousand: Bislig (99,290), Dapitan (85,202), Cabadbaran (80,354), Oroquieta (72,301), Tangub (68,389), Tandag (62,669) and El Salvador (58,771).
Lamitan in Basilan breached 100,000 in the 2020 census, with 100,150, up from 74,782 in the 2015 census.
From Region 12 to BARMM
The 2020 CPH posted a population of 4.90 million for Region 12 and 4.40 million for the BARMM.
At the time of the census in May 2020, Cotabato City, which voted for inclusion in the BARMM during the January 2019 plebiscite had not been turned over to the BARMM. Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who campaigned against ratification, appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2020 to exclude the city from the BARMM until end of the three-year transition period on June 30, 2022.
The appeal was not granted. On December 15, 2020, supervision over Cotabato City and the 63 villages in six North Cotabato towns was formally turned over by the Department of Interior and Local Government to the BARMM’s Ministry of Interior and local Governments.
Adding Cotabato City’s 325,079 and the 215,433 population of the 63 North Cotabato villages — or a total of 540,512 — to the BARMM’s 4,404,288 as listed in the 2020 CPH, increases the total population of the BARMM to 4,944,800.
Deducting 540,512 votes from Region 12’s 4,901,486 as posted in the 2020 CPH, reduces the regional total to 4,360,974.. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)