Davao Occidental

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Davao Occidental (Cebuano: Kasadpang Dabaw; Filipino: Kanlurang Davao) is the 81st and newest province in the Philippines located in the Davao Region in Mindanao.[1][2][3] Its capital is the municipality of Malita. To the east lies the Davao Gulf. It also shares a maritime border with the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi to the south.

According to Article IX, Section 48 of the provincial charter, the first set of elective officials were elected on May 9, 2016, the next local elections following the foundation of the province.


Davao Occidental was created through Republic Act 10360 enacted on July 23, 2013, comprising five of the eight municipalities that constitute the 2nd district of Davao del Sur. RA 10360 was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate on November 28, 2012, and December 5, 2012, respectively, and signed by President Benigno Aquino III on January 14, 2013.[1][4] A plebiscite was held on October 28, 2013 along with the barangay elections and the majority of votes cast were "Yes", ratifying the province.[2]

The motive of creating the province was to boost the economic condition and social progress of the municipalities. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who sponsored the creation of Davao Occidental, said that the distances of Digos, Davao del Sur's provincial capital, to other municipalities in the second Congressional District are far-off that impairs the effective delivery of basic services, as well as the access to government offices.[5] However, Davao del Sur Representative Marc Douglas Cagas considered the creation of the province as nothing more than gerrymandering and political convenience.[6]

Government officials of Davao del Sur with assistance from the Department of Interior and Local Government exercised jurisdiction over the Davao Occidental until the elected local officials of the 2016 elections assumed office.[7][8]


Davao Occidental covers a total area of 2,163.45 square kilometres (835.31 sq mi) occupying the southwestern tip of the Davao Region in Mindanao. The province is bordered on the northwest by Davao del Sur; west by Sarangani and northeast by the Davao Gulf.

The topography of Davao Occidental is hilly, rugged and sloping, with nearly the whole province consisting of mountains. Its eastern shoreline consists of cliffs and beaches with hills immediately on their backs. Coconut trees and hardwood trees mostly dominate the provincial mainland.


The province of Davao Occidental is governed by a governor and a vice governor. The whole province is a lone congressional legislative district. The municipality of Malita, the largest and most populous in the province, serves as the provincial capital and the place where the provincial officials of Davao Occidental convene.

Administrative divisions

The province comprises 5 municipalities.

Municipality Area Density Barangays
km2 sq mi /km2 sq mi
Don Marcelino 407.30 157.26 110 280 15
Jose Abad Santos 600.06 231.68 130 340 26
Malita 883.37 341.07 130 340 30
Santa Maria 175.00 67.57 310 800 22
Sarangani 97.72 37.73 250 650 12
Total 2,163.45 835.31 150 390 105
Provincial capital Municipality


The population of Davao Occidental in the 2015 census was 316,342 people,  with a density of 150 inhabitants per square kilometre or 390 inhabitants per square mile.

The population mostly consists of people whose ancestors originate from the migrants from Visayan Islands and Luzon. The Lumad natives only form a small part of the population and live in the more mountainous and forested areas of the province.


The shores of Malita as seen from the hilltops.

The main industries in Davao Occidental are aquaculture and agriculture. Economic produce in the province include fish, bananas and coconuts which are then exported to several major cities within southern Mindanao, including Davao City. Rice farms are only limited to the few flat lands in the province due to its mountainous and thickly forested nature.

The capital town of Malita is the province's main commercial hub.

Tourism has started to gain traction in the province, with potential tourist destinations mostly concentrated at the province's coastal beaches and the Sarangani and Balut islands in the south.[9]


Davao Occidental is served by only one partially-coastal highway that traverses the whole length of the provincial mainland from north to south, and could only be accessed by going through the road crossings in Sulop in Davao del Sur province and, farther ahead, in the city of General Santos. Buses, jeepneys and passenger vans that originate from and serve the cities of Davao and Digos are the main primary modes of transportation in the province. Boats serve as the primary maritime mode of transportation for coastal areas not yet accessible by roads and the island municipality of Sarangani.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Republic Act No. 10360: An Act Creating the Province of Davao Occidental. Congress of the Philippines (January 14, 2013).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cayon, Carina (October 30, 2013). DavSur voters approve of Davao Occidental. Philippine Information Agency.
  3. "Davao Occidental, PH’s 81st province", Manila Bulletin, Yahoo! News Philippines, 31 October 2013. 
  4. COMELEC to conduct plebiscite for the creation of Davao Occidental. Official Gazette. COMELEC (September 18, 2013).
  5. Davao Occidental Province Soon To Be Realized. Senate of the Philippines (May 16, 2012).
  6. Regalado, Edith (January 24, 2013). ‘Creation of Davao Occidental just for political convenience’. Philstar.
  7. "Davao Occidental province to be created", BusinessWorld, November 10, 2013. 
  8. "Plebiscite results favor new Davao province", Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 30, 2013. 
  9. Top 10 Must Visit Attractions in Davao Occidental