MANILA – The proposed division of Maguindanao into two provinces could improve the delivery of basic services to residents, a local official said on Friday.
The campaign for the plebiscite to split the province into Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur started Tuesday, Aug. 16, and would end on Sept. 15. Residents of 508 villages will vote on whether or not they are in favor of the division on Sept. 17.
With a land area of nearly 1 million hectares, residents from the outskirts of the province typically travel for 6 hours to reach the Maguindanao capitol, noted provincial administrator Atty. Cyrus Torreña.
“Ang hirap talaga,” he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. “Kaya kung maghahati ang probinsya, magiging Del Sur at Del Norte, primary na matutugunan ang delivery of basic services kasi mas mapapalapit na ang gobyerno doon sa taumbayan.”
(It's really difficult. If you divide the province into Del Norte and Del Sur, delivery of basic services will be easier because you're bringing government closer to the people.)
He also said splitting Maguindanao into 2 provinces would help governors bring in more investments and change the area's reputation.
“Magkakaroon ng focus ang 2 governor para mag-invite ng mga investor para sa probinsya and most especially, kailangan naming magfocus din sa para mabago namin ang imahen ng Maguindanao, at maipakita namin na ang Maguindanao ay tulad din ng ibang probinsya na tahimik,” Torreña said.
“Yung mga problema, yung mga napapabalitang kaguluhan, hindi po yun siya nagsasabing ng kabuuan ng Maguindanao,” he added.
(The 2 governors can invite investors to the province, and we can focus on changing Maguindanao's image. We can show Filipinos that it is also a quiet province. The problems, the issues you hear about, are not representative of the entire Maguindanao.)
Government officials are ready for the transition if the proposed split pushes through, Torreña said.
"Actually kalahati ng empleyado ay lilipat sa Del Norte, ang kalahati ay maiiwan sa Del Sur. Kahit ang mga department heads natin sa probinsya ay paghahatian din. Yung paghahati na mangyayari, ang department head, ang kanyang assistant ay mapupunta sa kabila," he said.
"Or kung department head ang lilipat, ang kanyang assistant ang maiiwan sa Del Sur," he noted.
(Half of the employees will move to Del Norte, half will remain in Del Sur. Even department heads will be split up, some of the heads will stay here, while their assistants will go to the other side, or vice versa.)
Former President Rodrigo Duterte last year approved Republic Act 11550 that divided the southern province.
The 2 new provinces will be created upon approval by majority of residents in a plebiscite, the charter reads.
— TeleRadyo, 19 August 2022