Law dividing Palawan into 3 provinces rejected

The province of Palawan will remain intact and one.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday declared victory over the division of the province.

In the final tally of the Palawan Provincial Board of Canvassers, after canvassing 22 of the total 23 municipalities, the “no” votes were 172,304 while 122,223 were “yes.”

Earlier, some officials who supported the division of the province also conceded.

Nearly 60 percent of the 490,000 registered voters in Palawan left their homes on Saturday amid the COVID-19 pandemic and downpour to participate in the plebiscite.

There are booths in the precincts with plastic barriers and separate polling places for voters with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius.

“Ano’ng ibig sabihin no’n? ‘Yong new normal committee will be the committee that will form the guidelines on how to conduct the 2022 election under the pandemic situation,” According to Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. explained this Tuesday in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

Law dividing Palawan into 3 provinces rejected

The Comelec considers it a success to hold a plebiscite into 3, which voted on whether to divide the province into Palawan del Norte, Oriental, and del Sur.

Kho said plebiscite served as a “laboratory” on how the upcoming elections should be held amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Itong Palawan na plebisito na ito will be considered as our laboratory on how elections should be held under a pandemic situation so definitely mga ginawa natin dito will have an impact doon sa policies na gagawin natin sa 2022,” said Kho.

The voter turnout in the plebiscite also proves the people’s confidence in the protocols implemented by the Comelec, according to Kho.

“Probably ‘yong policies na ginawa natin dito for also convinced people to vote so probably, it gave them confidence na ‘pag pumunta sila sa presinto, naman sila,” he said.

The provincial government spent about P150 million for the plebiscite, also based on the budget set by the Comelec, according to Kho.

“It may appear to be large but I understand this is a worthy experiment kasi nakita natin ang sentimyento ng tao, an of democracy is an expensive one,” said Kho.