A law was signed by President Duterte under Republic Act No. 11259 an Act Dividing Palawan into Three Provinces (Palawan del Norte, Palawan del Sur and Palawan Oriental) but will only absorb if the majority of votes will be on dividing Palawan.
The voters came from 23 Municipalities except Puerto Princesa (independent city). The voting of the plebiscite was first scheduled in May 2020 but because of the pandemic, it was postponed into March 2021.
The residents of the Municipalities came from Aborlan, Agutaya, Araceli, Balabac, Bataraza, Brooke's Point, Busuanga, Cagayancillo, Coron, Culion, Cuyo, Dumaran,El Nido, Kalayaan, Linapacan, Magsaysay, Narra, Quezon, Rizal, Roxas,San Vicente,Sofronio Española, and Taytay.
The plebiscite happened on March 13, 2021. There are total of 2,959 clustered or grouped precincts, 3,250 established precincts and 487 voting centers that was used.
On March 16, the province rejected the proposal according to the final tally. The registered voters had a total of 490,219, and the response of the total votes in "Yes" votes was 122,223 while "No" votes were 172,304 which is 58.50%.
Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez admitted that he was disappointed with the results of the voting results, he believes that dividing Palawan is for better governance.
Governor Alvarez said on his formal statement saying “Sa kabila man ng ating magkakaibang pananaw at opinyon sa nagdaang plebisito, nagkakaisa tayo sa ating magandang hangarin para sa minamahal nating lalawigan at mga kababayang Palaweno. At bilang Gobernador, makakaasa kayo na patuloy tayong maglilingkod at magsisikap para sa kabutihan ng ating mga mamamayan.”
“Muli, nawa’y magkaisa po tayong lahat upang itaguyod ang kabutihan at kaunlaran ng minamahal nating lalawigan ng Palawan. Matutong rumespeto at igalang ang pagkakaiba ng ating mga opinyon at paniniwala. Maraming salamat po,”.
He also added that he will continue to serve the public as an official, move on and finish his projects for Palawan.
On the other hand, Vice Mayor Dennis Socrates who was againsts into the division of the island was shocked after the results were finalized.
He said “Actually, sa totoo lang na-shock ako sa resulta. Marami na akong talo sa election at kapag natatalo ako, babalik sa isip ko ang linya ni Abraham Lincoln na I’m too old to cry but I’m too sad to laugh,”.
Board Member Leoncio Ola who also disagreed with the division said that he will not support the revival of the initiative in the future.
“Assuming na mayroong member ng Sanggunian na mag-file ng resolusyon na hatiin ang Palawan ay isa na ako sa mag-oppose dahil sayang ang aming effort. Tingin ko sa amin ay wala nang magpa-file ng ganitong panukala,” Ola stated.
Although many of the people had hopes and visions for the division of Palawan into three, the Palaweños accepted the results. The Palawan will stay as one government.