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Rank 5 Overall Ranking as the Most Competitive Municipality in 1st to 2nd Class Municipality in the Entire Philippines

History

In 1935, with the withdrawal of the Americans from the Philippines soil, the vast untapped resources of Mindanao became the focal attention of the administration in the face of gigantic economic challenges as the new nation emerged. Under the leadership of late President Manuel A. Roxas, an aggressive propaganda program was designed to attract settlers to Mindanao under the slogan “Mindanao as Land of Promise,” whereby many families without land from the Visayas and Luzon responded to the call.

 

The inception of Isulan as a settlement area was founded on a basic national policy through the resettlement approach or concept, which encouraged migrants to settle in various parts of Mindanao. Agricultural colonies were then set- up in Cotabato as early as 1913.

 

The Board of Directors of the Land Settlement and Development Corporation (LASEDECO) started the opening of a settlement in an area formerly under the jurisdiction of the National Land Settlement Administration  (NLSA) as a reservation in 1951. The LASEDECO surveyed and parceled out home and farm lots and constructed municipal and barrio roads and installed an electric light generator. Based on record however, the Kalawag Settlement District under the LASEDECO was formally opened on February 23,1951. The late VenancioMagbanua who first settled in Norala together with other migrants from Panay Island led the veteran settlers.

 

DatuKudandingCamsa, then the Deputy Governor of Koronadal, South Cotabato was instrumental in the distribution of lands to the migrants in the area. The Rice and Corn Production (RCP) program under the late Don Felipe Buencamino, Jr. opened new areas, which aimed to expand the production capabilities, where more families can work and generate more economic activities. The settlement, which included KalawagPoblacion, was surveyed under FOA-PHILCUSA MSA-45. Home lots of one thousand five hundred (1,500) square meters and farm lots of five (5) hectares were given to every deserving settler-beneficiary.

 

Under F.D. Kintanar, The Daguma Settlement District located west of the Allah River was opened. Mostly Ilocanos from Luzon and some Ilonggos from Visayas settled in the areas in Laguilayan led by Arturo Gabriel. From 1950’s to the 60’s, it was noted that influx of more migrants coming from all over the archipelago reached the area, which brought about the creation of additional barangays and sitios which mostly comprised the mother municipality of Isulan and Bagumbayan, its daughter municipality. During those periods, resettlement activities were pursued with more vigor and enthusiasm, thus absorbing more settlers. Lot allocations were made and land clearing became a massive activity of the settlers.

 

The influx of migrants from Luzon and Visayasisland who intermingled with a small group of native Muslims who were now together comprised the present Isulanons was not without accompanying problems. For it was only natural that the growing social milieu and diverse cultural heritage, customs, traditions and idiosyncrasies develop some tensions. But as a whole, it was opened up the previously uninhabited and richly endowed hinterlands thereby sowing the initial seed of development.

 

One of the major objectives of the Resettlement Concept was that of creating viable communities out of the hinterlands which had been attained as evidenced by the creation of Isulan into a regular municipality.

 

Isulan, like other typical Philippine municipalities has its own folklore as to how it got its name. Records revealed that when a group of World War II, veteran settlers first came in the area. They found a wide stretch of land covered with a root crop commonly called “Kalawag” in the Ilonggo dialect. Thus, this area to be designated as the seat of the new municipal government came to be “Kalawag”.

 

The early Christian settlers who had maintained harmonious relationship with the native Muslims had planned of building a progressive community to be developed as a new municipality. This plan was soon realized after an agreement with the local Muslim political leaders that the new municipality be named “Isulan”, a Muslim term with the Poblacion to be composed of the three (3) districts, now Barangays Kalawag I, II, and III.

 

The name “Isulan” had also its legendary origin. Accordingly, at the start of the 19th century, there was a battle between two Sultans. A sultanate in the adjacent town of Maganoy under Sultan Utto with a strong army decided to attack a small principality under the leadership of Sultan Mofac. Outnumbered by twenty to one, Sultan Mofac on a white horse decided to fight with his men notwithstanding the odds against him. The battle cry of Sultan Mofacwas”Isu-Silan” which, when translated means “they are there, advance”. This intrepid although suicidal show of force and determination so impressed Sultan Utto that in order to save lives on both sides, he decided to resolve the issue by negotiation thus placing Sultan Mofac and his principality under his protection. Isulan then derived its name from “Isu-Silan” which also means by analog “PROGRESS”.

 

In the passage of time “Isu-Silan” was shortened to Isulan which is its present adopted name. In the hierarchy of settlements, Isulan is classified as a major urban center. Being the designated capital town of Sultan Kudarat Province, it is the administrative seat of the provincial government.

 

The Christian Settlers would have preferred to decide the name of their new town by referendum.  However, DatuKudandingCamsa, both revered and feared, he had decided it by himself.

 

The present territories of Isulan were formerly belonged to the municipalities of Koronadal and Dulawan . On March 10, 1993 when Executive Order No. 572 was signed creating the Municipality of Norala South Cotabato, a portion of Isulan was taken and was made a part of it.

 

Originally, Isulan was bounded on the North by the Municipalities of Ampatuan and Sultan saBarongis of Maguindanao Province, on the East by Norala, South Cotabato and Tacurong of Sultan Kudarat,on the South by Surallah, also of South Cotabato; and on the West by Palimbang, Kalamansig and Lebak, all of Sultan Kudarat Province.

 

The municipality of Isulan was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 266 dated August 30, 1957 with the seat of government at Barangay Kalawag. However it was only on September15, 1957 that the municipal government officially functioned with the appointment of its first set of officials headed by Mayor Datu Suma Ampatuan who served as a Mayor until 1967. Since its creation, Isulan was classified as a 5th class municipality with an estimated annual income of P 38,380.83. The biggest sources of income of the town then were the logging companies in the area like the Sabros& Co. Inc.; Habaluyas Logging Enterprises and the Magsaysay &Silverio Logging Co., Inc.

 

Isulan was raised to a 3rd class municipality in January 1966 by a Department Order of the Secretary of Finance. In 1968, a new set of elected officials headed by Mayor Conrado E. Buencamino took the reins of the local government. Isulan, under the new administration was marked by great upheavals in the socio-economic spheres. Peace and order situation, which used to be in a sad state of affairs, improved as never before with the mayor himself personally taking firm control of the campaign.

 

On May 23, 1969, President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed R.A. 6270 creating the municipality of Bagumbayan which took from Isulan more than half of its original land area. Inspite of this, Isulan continued to progress, both in its socio-economic and financial state. On January 7, 1977 pursuant to a Department Order of Finance, Isulan was re-classified into a second class municipality. However, under Presidential Decree No. 465 which took effect on July 1, 1971 providing a new classification of municipalities according to its income, Isulan was again reclassified into a 3rd class municipality.

 

One of the most salient features in the 1970’s was the designation of Isulan as the Capital Town of the new province of Sultan Kudarat pursuant to PD No. 341 dated November 22, 1973.

 

On March 3, 1986 a Memorandum of Designation signed by Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., Minister of Local Government named Mr. Loney C. Publico as officer in-charge of the office of the Municipal Mayor replacing Mayor Conrado E. Buencamino. He took his oath of office as OIC on March 17, 1986. In the local elections of January 25, 1988, he was elected as Mayor of Isulan.

 

Under his administration, the construction of terminal was undertaken. Numerous infrastructure projects were accomplished; extension of social services reached the far – flung barangays and training for livelihood activities was vigorously pursued.

 

When Local Government Code of 1991 was approved on October 1991 and took its implementation and effected year after given genuine and meaningful autonomy to the Local Government Units. This gives the LGU 40% of the total Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) and limiting the terms of elected officials for three years in three consecutive terms.

 

On May 1989, Mayor Loney C. Publico defeated Hon. Conrado E. Buencamino. He retained his position for three consecutive terms. He resigned when he ran for governatorial candidate last March 27 1998. He was replaced by Vice Mayor Salvacion E. Sotelo to serve the unfinished term of Mayor Publico until June 30, 1998. On May 11, 1998, the national and local election was held and exercised by all Filipinos their rights of suffrage. Luckily, Mayor Ernesto F. Matias MD a former SanguniangPanlalawigan member won by majority votes. He is a doctor by profession. Mayor Matias is very optimistic for the development of Isulan, specifically in the realization of an Integrated Public Terminal. His desire is to improve the financial capability of Isulan, in order to pave the delivery of the basic services to its constituents.

 

FIRST MUNICIPAL OFICIALS

 

Although, Executive Order No. 266 was signed on August 30,1957, the new municipality was inaugurated and formally functioned on September 12,1957 as the 29th Municipality in the province of Cotabato as evidenced by Municipal Resolution no. 1 dated September 13,1957.

 

The first set of appointed Municipal Officials are as follows:

 

Hon. Datu Suma Ampatuan ………………………………………. Mayor

Hon. Andres Kapunan……………………………………………….. Vice Mayor

Hon. Benito Hechanova……………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. AnokGalmak…………………………………………………….. Councilor

Hon. DiosisioLotilla…………………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. Arturo Gabriel…………………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. GodofredoGazo………………………………………………… Secretary

Mr. Carlos Disomangcop…………………………………………….. Chief of Police

Mr. Ricardo Evangelista……………………………………………… Treasurer

 

The set of the municipal government was temporarily established at the house of MamantalMamalo located along the highway of KalawagPoblacion.  It started as a fifth class municipality and its first annual budget was P 34,720.00 with an estimated population of 21,451 as reflected in the 1960 census.

 

KALAWAG SETTLEMENT

 

In 1951, the Board of Directors of the Land Settlement and Development Corporation or LASEDECO started the opening of a settlement in an area formerly under the jurisdiction of the National Land Settlement Association (NLSA) as a reservation.  The LASEDECO had surveyed and parceled out home and farm lots and constructed municipal and barrio roads and installed electrical light generators.  It had brought in hundreds of farm tractors which uprooted big tress, cleared obstruction, plowed, cleaned and harrowed the wide stretches of the area.  What was once a marshy and wild expanse inhabited by snakes, crocodiles,

wild cattle, swine and deer had welcomed the first sprouts of seedlings of corn and rice, thus blanketed the horizon in endless green.

 

When a group of 72 World War II Veterans, led by VenancioMagbanua, Post Commander of Norala had come and settled in the area, on September 7, 1950, a Kalawag root crop used as food coloring was found out abundantly growing.  Thus, the early settlers decided to call and register the settlement as “Kalawag Settlement District of LASEDECO”. The area comprising the town site covers approximately 400 hectares.

 

The following were the first set of officers:

 

VenancioMagbanua………………………………………………………… Post Commander

Jose Valdevia…………………………………………………………………. Vice Post Commander

(originallySalustianoPalenge)

 

Pedro Agusan………………………………………………………………… Post Adjutant

CarlomagnoRetirado……………………………………………………….. Finance Officer

Juan Dapitan………………………………………………………………….. Post Historian

SalustianoPalenge…………………………………………………………… Post Auditor

Jose Vencer……………………………………………………………………. Sgt. At Arms

Alfredo  Bacla-an…………………………………………………………… Sgt. At Arms

Mariano Javision…………………………………………………………….. Business Manager

Felix Lampedario……………………………………………………………. Asst. Bus. Manager

 

 

Immigration from the Visayas and Luzon had now come in shiploads.  The most numerous batches were the “PACSA” group headed by Pedro Gabriel and BienvinidoPamintuan otherwise as the “Presidential Assistance Commission on Social Amelioration” of the late President Ramon Magsaysay.  His group consists of the erstwhile rebels that were known to be members of Hukbalahap from Pampanga.

 

1.1.4    CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP  

 

Mayor Datu Suma Ampatuan, supported by DatuKudandingCamsa had been mayor for ten years. This support was however withdrawn causing Suma’s defeat in the November 1967 Mayoralty election to a candidate, which gained by another Conrado E. Buencamino.  On January 1, 1968, the following new set of town officials took their oath of office:

 

Hon. Conrado E. Buencamino………………………………….. Mayor

Hon. Ramon A. Aristoza…………………………………………. Vice Mayor

Hon. Miguel M. Leonor…………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. UbongAkay…………………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. HilarioMatias…………………………………………………. Councilor

Hon. PasualOsano…………………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. Mabini C. Kapunan…………………………………………. Councilor

Hon. Jarde F. Bacala……………………………………………….. Councilor

Hon. Antonio Forro………………………………………………… Councilor

Hon. KusainGalmak……………………………………………….. Councilor