Voters to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’
The Commission on Elections is set to hold a plebiscite for the creation of the new Province of Davao Occidental, simultaneous with the October 28, 2013 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.
On July 23, 2013, Congress enacted Republic Act 10360 or an “Act Creating the Province of Davao Occidental.” Carved out from the present Davao del Sur, the new province consists of the Municipalities of Sta. Maria, Malita, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani.
In RA 10360, the COMELEC was mandated to supervise the conduct of a plebiscite for the approval of the creation of Davao Occidental by the majority of the votes cast by voters in the affected areas, within sixty (60) days after the Act becomes effective.
However, the COMELEC on November 27, 2012, suspended the conduct of all plebiscite as a matter of policy in view of the preparations for the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections. The policy of deferment was later extended by the COMELEC on July 9, 2013.
The poll body in a meeting held on July 31, 2013, then decided to hold the plebiscite for the creation of Davao Occidental simultaneous with the October 28, 2013 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.
According to the COMELEC, five (5) out of the eight (8) municipalities in the 2nd Legislative District of Davao del Sur shall compose the new Province of Davao Occidental, once approved in a plebiscite.
The registered voters of Davao del Sur, excluding Davao City, shall participate in the said plebiscite. As of the May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections, Davao del Sur, excluding Davao City, has 523,862 total number of registered voters, the poll body furthered.
Voters in Davao del Sur shall use a different ballot in the October 28, 2013 Barangay and SK Elections as it would also include voting for the plebiscite. The COMELEC shall be printing special ballots for the purpose.