Palawan residents vote 'No' to division of province into three

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The Board of Canvassers of the Palawan plebiscite has declared the "no" vote of the people won, rejecting the move to split the province into three. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — The Board of Canvassers of the Palawan plebiscite has declared the "no" vote of the people won, rejecting the move to split the province into three.

On Tuesday, the board granted a motion by the opposing side to terminate the canvassing of votes after counting results from 22 out of 23 municipalities, with the "No" vote already holding an apparently insurmountable lead. The motion was also supported by the proponents from the "Yes" side. As of 5 p.m., March 16, there were 172,304 "No" votes or votes against dividing the province, while 122,223 voted "Yes" in favor of the move.

The board ruled that the remaining votes in the municipality of Kalayaan would not be enough to overturn the results since there were only 280 registered voters there.

Out of 490,254 registered voters, only 297,728 voted during the plebiscite on March 13, equivalent to a 60% voter turnout, the board said.

In April 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law that sought to divide Palawan into three provinces: Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur. Advocates said it would allow local government units to deliver services faster, but dissenters argued the move would only serve political interests as government officials may take advantage of the new local positions to reinforce their dynasties.

READ: Palawan plebiscite: What you need to know