A measure seeking to divide Maguindanao into two provinces has been endorsed for the Senate’s approval.
Senator Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, sponsored the House bill which proposes to divide the Maguindanao province into Northern Maguindanao and Southern Maguindanao under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Under House Bill 6413, 12 municipalities will compose the province of Northern Maguindanao, while the remaining 24 towns will be part of Southern Maguindanao.
Municipalities to be included under Northern Maguindanao would be: 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.
Meanwhile, Southern Maguindanao will be composed of the municipalities of 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.
In pushing for the bill’s passage, Tolentino said the proposed partition of Maguindanao will help boost social and economic development and will also promote political stability in the region.
“Although the province is blessed with rich and abundant natural resources, it faces political and economic barriers”, he said.
He said the division will particularly allow for “better” delivery of basic services such as public health care, education, and transportation to remote villages.
He added that the partition of Maguindanao “is the embodiment of the Maguindanaoans’ vision and aspirations to create new provincial governments which will promote their welfare and enhance their socio-economic condition.”