By Rjay Zuriaga Castor


The Palaweños have spoken loud and clear: Palawan remains as one province.

The Commission on Elections’ Provincial Plebiscite Board of Canvassers declared on 5:30 pm March 16 that the proposed division of Palawan province into three new entities–Palawan Del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan Del Sur, has been rejected following a 60% voter turnout. 

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the Board of Canvassers canvassed a total of 172,304 'no' votes and 122,223 'yes' votes after counting the votes cast in 22 out of 23 municipalities in the province. 

“Canvass results from Kalayaan are not expected to arrive today, due to the unavailability of transport. Kalayaan has 281 registered voters,” Jimenez said. 

Jimenez added that the Oppositor earlier made the motion to terminate the canvass "in view of the insurmountability of the lead enjoyed by the NO votes."

He further clarified that the Proponent later joined and did not object the motion of the Oppositor.

Meanwhile, Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. extended his gratitude to the participants of the plebiscite.

“So the Provincial Board already proclaimed that the no votes got the highest, thereby rejecting the division of Palawan into three provinces. We would like to congratulate the voters for participating actively in this vote,” he said in a live press briefing.

He also thanked the teachers, military and police personnel, and health professionals for their participation.

Kho said the poll body delivered on its promise to count the vote correctly as he urged the public to continue participating in the elections.

“May susunod ho tayong election, no, ‘yung pinakamalaki na sa 2022. Tulungan ninyo rin po kami. I hope media will be an active participant… para ganito rin ang magiging kalabasan. Magandang resulta ng election,” he said.

“We heard the voice of the people from Palawan,” he added.

The board of canvassers said that out of the more than 490,000 registered voters, 297,728 or 60.06 percent actually cast their votes.

The plebiscite was required under Republic Act No. 11259, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in April 2019, for the proposed creation of the three new provinces.