The Creation of the City

Parent Category: ROOT Category: Basic Information

Creation of the City

Creation of the City

When  Samal Islands were created into three municipalities, it was  perceived that its development would be mobilized being located proximately to the  progressive metropolis of Davao and nearby growth centers in  Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.  Yet, after the passed decades since its creation as municipalities in 1948 and as three district municipalities  in 1953 and 1966 its development lagged far behind from its neighboring local government units.  Hence in 1996 the high ranking officials of Davao del Norte led by Congressman Rodolfo del Rosario and Provincial Governor  Propspero S. Amatong with other members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan moved on to usher Samal a new vision of hope before its Golden Anniversary in 1998.  During this year a new concept of development strategy cropped up which is the creation of an urban center in a rural environment that would set a new horizon of modernity and prioritize quality public service delivery.

When Samal was created into a municipality the desire of the early administrators was to decentralize the decision-making in the delivery of basic services to reach out the countryside of the Island.  Since Samal Island is geographically  separated  from  Davao del Norte, delays in addressing the needs of its constituents was experienced due to the difficulty in mobility.

The Province centralized system in decision making is considered as one contributory factor in the Island under-development issue.  Expected development for the three municipalities  were not attained due to its sluggish development endeavor.  Potentials  in the Island are not properly secured, harnessed and maximized.

Henceforth, it was realized that having more local government units in an Island with different sets of policy makers is not a guarantee for development, instead this could hinder expected development due to its distinct geographical character.

With the foregoing realities, Congressman Rodolfo P. del Rosario passed the Bill that result to the passage of Republic Act 8471, which paved the way for the integration  of the  three municipalities into one local government unit that is now called the Island Garden City of Samal.  This was signed on January 30, 1998 by His Excellency, President Fidel V. Ramos and  was overwhelmingly approved by the people of the locality during the plebiscite held on March 7, 1998.  Almost four months later, on June  30, 1998, the new city began exercising its corporate powers. 

At first, people from all walks of life were resistant  on its name for  its too long. Other simply remarked that with  the physical attributes of the locality, it does not deserve to be called a City. With due respect to these observations, only  few had realized that the creation of the city is totally distinct in the sense that it embraces the new dimension of development which hopefully will make things happen for its people. 

The new development strategy will  promote the consolidation of resources and redefine thereof the development boundaries to uphold residents support in the merging of three municipalities in the Island.


The Early Years of the Island

The Early  Years  of the Island


In the early years, Samal island was settled by indigenous people coming from the northern and eastern  coasts of the undivided Davao Province.  A large mixed population of Mansakas, Mandayas and Muslims composed the identification of the now so called Sama tribe.

As these primeval settlers were organized into communities they were dynastically ruled by a Datu up the early part of the American regime.

In the early part of the 18th century governance shifted  when christianization came in.

As an archipelago, Samal became a District Municipality of Davao Province.  Subsequently, in three year time Municipality of Babak and thirteen years after Municipality of Kaputian were created.  Each municipal name derived from each different historical tracings and so with the barangays with in their jurisdiction.

The second district which is the government center of the city got its district name Samal from the early indigenous settlers forming into one tribe called “Isama”  and its barangay name Peñaplata from the Isama term “Malibasa”  which means a place where honorable people living in perfect harmony who loved peace that they knew no war.  First  district derived its name Babak from an abundant shrubs called “Tagbak” grown in the area which were used as land mark for the people’s trade center.  White Sand  in local dialect “Putting Balas” is significantly true to the shorelines of the third district from which its name Kaputian derived.

In the early settlement of the island, there were no known surveyed roads except trails and pathways crisscrossing the lowland areas.  Thick forest and green land covered the island’s virgin soil.

The Isamas are by occupation farmers and fishermen using  old fashioned and crude methods of agricultural farming and fishing.  Their products were contained in baskets woven by their own hand arts, raw materials of which are abundantly grown in the island and transported  by means of handling  and through animal driven carts in the in-land and paddled bancas as the water transport.  Barter system was their traditional  economic enterprise.

The coming of the  Christian  from the different Provinces of Luzon and Visayas and  from the other  parts of Mindanao, introduced improvised methods of farming and fishing .  More arable lands were acquired and cultivated.

More developments and settlements happened,  population continue to grow as  years passed by until  the  time  that Samal Island was tapped as one of the government tourism zones.

Samal Island is one of the seven thousand tropical islands in the Philippines with a larger number  of glorious beaches complete with soft white coral sand, rustling coconut palms and gently lapping turquoise water.  A number of natural waterways and caves are strategically located within the island.




Political Dimension

Political Dimension 


From the autonomous period of the three municipalities of the Island in 1948-1998, political leadership turn over counted several times.  Political evolutions took in place from appointments to election procedures.


For Samal Municipality

Year  Mayor  Status

1948 -1951

Apolonio Mahinay 

Appointed through Governor Miranda

1951 – 1971  Simplicio B. Obenza  Elected

July 1971 to Nov. 1971  

 Felix D. Solamo

Successor due to the death of the former Mayor

1971 –1986 Galileo S. Obenza  Elected

1986 – 1987 

Yolando Etaoc

Appointed OIC through EDSA Revolution

Dec. 1987 

Samuel Robledo 

Caretaker –DILG due to candidacy filing of the former

Dec. 1987  to Feb. 1988 

Alberto Sepulveda 

Appointed OIC due to the candidacy of Etaoc

1988 – 1998  Galileo S. Obenza  Elected


 For Babak Municipality


Apolonio Mahinay

Appointed by President Elpedio Quirino

Ramon C. Anima

Appointed by President  Ramon Magsaysay
 1953 – 1955

Apolonio Mahinay

Appointed  by Court
 1956 – 1959

Esario E. Daguman

 1960 – 1967

Ramon M. Anima 

 1967 – 1979

Manuel B. Pichon

 Feb.-Dec. 1979

Anita C. Villarica

 1980 – 1986

David M. Uy

 1986 –1988

Sofronio M. Lago

Appointed OIC through EDSA

David M. Uy



For Kaputian Municipality

1966 Diosdado Alorro 


1966-1986 Dediano Rebong


1986 –1988

Aniano Antalan Appointed OIC through EDSA revolution
1988-1998 Aniano Antalan



 In 1986, the three municipalities have had ruled by appointed OIC mayors after the government revamp (EDSA Revolution) under the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino.


First City Officials


It was a co-incident that the rights of the latest mayors to be reelected poses as provided in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, when the city had its first election of government officials in 1998.

These are the first sets of City elected and appointed officials to facilitate the developmental vision of the Island.


Elected Officials:


Hon. Rogelio P. Antalan

City Mayor

Hon. Ceferino B. Latras

City Vice Mayor

Hon. Orly A. Amit     

SP Member - Babak District

Hon. Africo R. Bordios     

SP Member - Babak District

Hon. Samuel R. Nacito

SP Member - Babak District

Hon. Vick M. Banggat

SP Member - Babak District

Hon. Mariano K. Fernandez

SP Member - Samal District
Hon. Ruel H. Bantillo

SP Member - Samal District

Hon. Guillermo E. Olden

SP Member - Samal District

Hon. Isidro P. Requina, Sr

SP Member - Samal District
Hon. Dediano E. Rebong

SP Member - Kaputian District

Hon. Samuel R. Rosario

SP Member - Kaputian District

Hon. Jeffrey S. Prieto

SP Member - Kaputian District

Hon. Jesus S. Parilla

SP Member - Kaputian District

Hon. Virgilio L. Ang 

Ex-Official Member - ABC President

Hon.  Ronan P. Pangilinan

Ex-Official Member - SKF President Samal District

Hon. Richard A. Guindolman

Ex-Official Member - SKF President Babak District

Hon. Neiljun C. Esdrelon

Ex-Official Member - SKF President Kaputian District/ Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member



City Department Head


Mr. Cleto B. Gales Jr. City Administrator
Mr. Amancio M. Ibarra  Secretary to the  Sangguniang     Panlungsod
Engr.  Ana Lea A. Zapanta  City Planning and Development Coordinator   
Mrs. Jemelita Q. Camaso  City Budget Officer
Mrs. Jennifer D. Cariaga, CPA  City Accountant 
Mrs. Aurea R. Bastasa  City Treasurer
Mrs. Abundia A. Lariosa  City Social Welfare and Development Officer
Mrs. Abundia A. Lariosa    City Social Welfare and Development Officer 
Mr. Joel L. Padillo  City Civil Registrar
Mr. Ramon D. Soria  City Assessor
Mrs. Emma R. Galon  City Agriculturist
Mr. Percenito O. Bustamante  City General Services Officer
Engr. Darwin S. Arig  City Engineer
Dr. Lilibeth O. Villanueva, M.D.  City Health Officer
Mr. Florencio M. Villabrille  City Human Resource &    Management Officer   
Atty. Jocam Joseph C. Jocson  City Legal Officer