SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Deputy Speaker Pangalian Balindong has filed a bill dividing the province of Lanao del Sur into the province of Maranaw and the new province of Lanao del Sur.
Balindong (2nd District, Lanao del Sur) said the proposal to divide Lanao del Sur was first introduced 42 years ago. "This proposal is neither new nor without basis," he said.
Balindong revealed that Republic Act 6406, which sought to create the new Province of Maranaw out of eastern Lanao del Sur (now corresponding to the province's First Congressional District), was approved on October 4, 1971.
"But the declaration of Martial Law in the country on September 21, 1972, which disrupted the elections for 1973, prevented the organization of the Maranaw province. Thus, without the political will or the resources to implement RA 6406, the division of Lanao del Sur never took place," Balindong pointed out.
Under the bill, the new province of Maranaw would include the municipalities of Buadiposo-Buntong, Bubong. Bumbaran, Ditsaan-Ramain, Kapai, Lumba-Bayabao, Maguing, Marantao, Masiu, Mulondo, Piagapo, Poona Bayabao, Saguiaran, Tagoloan II, Tamparan, Taraka, Wao and with Marawi City as capital.
Likewise, the proposed new province of Lanao del Sur would consist of the municipalities of Bacolod-Kalawi, Balabagan, Balindong, Bayang, Binidayan, Butig, Calanogas, Ganassi, Kapatagan, Lumbaca-Unayan, Lumbatan, Lumbayanague, Madalum, Madamba, Marogong, Pagayawan, Picong, Pualas, Sultan Dumalondong, Tubaran and Tugaya, with Malabang as the new capital.
"The proposed division satisfies all the requisites for the creation of a province under the Local Government Code, as amended by R.A. 9009," Balindong said, noting that, "in fact, a legacy of the unimplemented division is the existence of two ZIP codes -- Malabang with 9300 and Maranaw (Marawi City) assigned the code 9700."
Balindong said, that like the first district, with Marawi City as capital, the second district has strategic importance in the administrative and socio-economic life and development of Lanao and of the ARMM.
"Its establishment as a new province will certainly promote, invigorate, and reinforce the economic potential of Lanao, and accelerate the development of the region," Balindong said.
T'bok, a barangay of Malabang town, was the first seat of government of the Iranon Kingdom. "T'bok is also acknowledged as the center of all ethnolinguistic groups in mainland Mindanao and has been, for decades, the center of commerce in the second district," Balindong said.
"Today, the traditional arguments shaping the Mindanao conflict have changed, and there is need to go beyond the original narrative of rebellion to shed light on the changing political and economic conditions," Balindong said.
The bill has been referred to the House committee on Local Government chaired by Rep. Pedro Acharon, Jr. (2nd District, South Cotabato).