The top Philippine provinces in size, population, and income

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Many people from Cebu prefer being called Cebuanos rather than Visayans. I joked to friends in France when they asked me last October whether I am Filipino, I told them no, I am a Cebuano. Even my wife, who is from Nueva Ecija, never stops being amazed at how and why I am immensely proud to be Cebuano. I always say Cebu is the best province in the Philippines.

It’s important to compare our province to the over 80 other provinces in the Philippines. Cebu was always a premier province, and is widely recognized as the home of learned men and women in law, engineering, medicine, public service, education, and business, as well as beautiful and talented personalities, in the fields of arts, music, fashion, and film. Cebu is among the best in the whole country, and when people here in Metro Manila hear that you are a Cebuano, they look at you with respect, admiration, even envy at times. I am writing this article so our people will know how Cebu fare vis-à-vis other provinces.

In terms of areas or size, here are the top ten provinces from largest to the least large: Palawan, 17,030.75 square kilometers; Isabela, 12,414.93 sqm; Bukidnon, 12,498.59 sqm; Agusan del Sur, 9,989.52 sqm; Cagayan, 9,295.75 sqm; Quezon, 9,069.60 sqm; Cotabato, 9,008.90 sqm; Negros Occidental, 7,965.21 sqm; Zamboanga del Norte, 7,301 sqm; and Davao del Sur, 6,771.04 sqm. Take note that only three are in Luzon; Isabela, Cagayan, and Quezon. To me Palawan is an island by itself, too far from Luzon and never been deemed part of Visayas or Mindanao. Five are in Mindanao; Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, Cotabato, Zamboanga del Norte, and Davao del Sur. Only one is in the Visayas, Negros Occidental.

In terms of population, all the ten biggest provinces are not the most populated, except Negros Occidental. The rankings based on the number of people are: Cebu, 4,632,359; Cavite, 3,678,000; Bulacan, 3,292,000; Laguna, 3,035,000; Pangasinan, 2,957,000; Rizal, 2,884,000; Batangas, 2,694,000; Negros Occidental, 2,497,000; Pampanga, 2,198,000; and Nueva Ecija, 2,151,000. All these are rounded off to the nearest thousand, except Cebu.

In terms of financial strength, Cebu did extremely well under then Governor Junjun Davide. Based on the 2017 COA report, Cebu is the best with a whopping net worth of P34.139 billion, followed by a far number two, Compostela Valley (renamed Davao de Oro), P18.95B, then by Batangas, P15.56B; Rizal, P14.02B; Negros Occidental, P12.889B; Zambales, P10.445B; Bulacan, P10.451B; Palawan, P10.159 B; Iloilo, P10.045B, and Pampanga, P9.53B. I think we should be proud that even if we are not within the top ten in area, Cebu tops in both population and finances. Kudos to our leaders and people.

Cebu City, however, failed to be in the top five cities in terms of finances. Former mayor Osmeña did not do well in fiscal management. Here is the ranking: Quezon City, P12.337B; Makati, P9.543B; Manila, P7.151B; Pasig, P5.777B, and Davao City, P4.624B. To me, financial strength is what matters most, in running a city like Cebu. Cebu Province has been led and managed well. Cebu City, well...I hope it does better under Mayor Edgar Labella.

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