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WHEREAS, the province of Cotabato is one of the largest and richest provinces of the Philippines;

WHEREAS, the potentials of the province have not been fully developed due to the magnitude of the task of provincial development and to the troubles that have long plagued the area;

WHEREAS, the many conflicting political, social and economic interests that have limited the progress of the province must be resolved in order to promote the stability and accelerate the development of Cotabato; and

WHEREAS, there is need for dividing the present province into smaller units which can be more effectively administered and developed;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers in me vested by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, do hereby order and decree:

Section 1. The province of Cotabato is hereby divided into three provinces to be known as North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Section 2. The Province of North Cotabato shall consist of that portion of the present Province of Cotabato which is comprised of the municipalities of Pigcawayan, Libungan, Alamada, Midsayap, Kabacan, Carmen, Matalam, M’lang, Tulunan, Makilala, President Roxas, Magpet, Kidapawan and Pikit.

Section 3. The Province of Maguindanao shall consist of that portion of the present Province of Cotabato which is comprised of the municipalities of Buldon, Parang, Sultan Kudarat, Tumbao, Upi, Dinaig, Datu Piang, Maganoy, Pagalungan, Buluan, Ampatuan, Sultan sa Barongis and the new town of Datu Paglas.

Section 4. The province of Sultan Kudarat shall consist of that portion of the present Province of Cotabato which is comprised of the municipalities of Tacurong, Isulan, Lutayan, Bagumbayan, Kalamansing, Lebak, Columbio, Palimbang and the new towns of President Quirino, Mariano Marcos and Esperanza.

Section 5. The capital of North Cotabato shall be Kidapawan; that of Maguindanao, Maganoy; and that of Sultan Kudarat, Isulan.

Section 6. Except as hereinafter provided, all provisions of law now or hereafter applicable to regular provinces shall be applicable to the provisions of North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Section 7. The present governor and other provincial officials of the existing province of Cotabato shall transfer to the new province of North Cotabato and assume the administration of said province immediately. However, until the President appoints the officials of the two other newly created provinces, the present officials shall continue in the administration of all three provinces.

Section 8. Upon the full effectivity of this Decree, the proportionate share of the new provinces in the obligations, funds, assets and other properties of the present province of Cotabato shall be transferred by the President to the provinces herein created upon recommendation of the Auditor General.

Section 9. This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 22nd day of November, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-three.

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