Parent Category: ROOT Category: Basic Information


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 “Puting 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.




Creation of the City

When Samal Island 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.


Political Dimension

From the Autonomous period of the three Municipalities of the Island in 1948 - 2006, political leadership turn over several times. Political evolution took in place from appointments to election procedure.

Municipality of Samal    
1948 - 1951 Apolonio Mahinay Appointed through Governor Miranda
1951 - 1971 Simplicio B. Obenza Elected
July 1971 - November 1971 Felix D. Solamo Successor due to the death of the former Mayor
1971 - 1986 Galileo S. Obenza Elected
1986 - 1987 Yolando L. Etaoc Appointed OIC-Municipal Mayor during EDSA Revolution
December 1987 - February 1988 Alberto Sepulveda Appointed OIC due to the candidacy of Yolando Etaoc
1988 - 1998 Galileo S. Obenza Elected
Municipality of Babak    
1953 Apolonio Mahinay Appointed by President Elpidio Quirino
1953 Ramon M. Anima Appointed by President Ramon Magsaysay
1953 - 1955 Apolonio Mahinay  Appointed by Court
1956 - 1959 Esario E. Daguman Elected
1960 - 1967 Ramon M. Anima Elected
1968 - January 1979 Manuel Pichon Elected
February - December 1979 Anita C. Villarica Appointed
1980 - 1986 David M. Uy Elected
1986 - 1988 Sofronio M. Lago Appointed OIC through EDSA
1988 - 1998 David M. Uy Elected
Municipality of Kaputian     
1966 Diosdado Alorro Appointed
1966 - 1986 Dediano E. Rebong Elected
1986 - 1988 Aniano P. Antalan Appointed OIC through EDSA
1988 - 1998 Aniano P. Antalan Elected


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


Elected City Officials

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

1998 - 2001 Rogelio P. Antalan Ceferino B. Latras
2001 - 2004 Rogelio P. Antalan Austerio F. Obenza
2004 - 2007 Rogelio P. Antalan Austerio F. Obenza
2007 - 2010 Aniano P. Antalan Orly A. Amit
2010 - 2013 Aniano P. Antalan Al David T. Uy
2013 - 2016 Aniano P. Antalan Al David T. Uy
2016 - 2019 Al David T. Uy Orly A. Amit
2019 - 2022 Al David T. Uy Richard A. Guindolman
 1998 - 2001 SP Members    
Orly A. Amit Mariano K. Fernandez Dediano E. Rebong
Africo R. Bordios Ruel H. Bantillo Samuel C. Rosario
Samuel R. Nacito Guillermo E. Olden Jeffrey S. Prieto
Vicky M. Banggat Isidro P. Requina, Sr. Jesus S. Parilla
2001 - 2004 SP Members    
Orly A. Amit Mariano K. Fernandez Dediano E. Rebong
Africo R. Bordios Ruel H. Bantillo Samuel C. Rosario
Samuel R. Nacito Abelardo D. Colmenares Jeffrey S. Prieto
Vicky M. Banggat Isidro P. Requina, Sr. Jesus S. Parilla
 2004 - 2007 SP Members    
2007 - 2010 SP Members    
2010 - 2013 SP Members    
2013 - 2016 SP Members    
2016 - 2019 SP Members    
Lemuel T. Reyes Ruel H. Bantillo Jan Albert R. Ortiz
Richard A. Guindolman Abelardo D. Colmenares Ricardo A. Tacsanan
Dan P. Gervacio Glenn C. Colmenares Charles Ligan
Michael D. Robledo, Sr. Guillermo E. Olden Medotodio D. Gonato
2019 - 2022 SP Members    
Lemuel T. Reyes Ruel H. Bantillo Jan Albert R. Ortiz
Edwin M. Jansol Ginaphine C. Cañete Aldwin Jumao-as
Austerio F. Obenza Nolan L. Dacer Ricardo A. Tacsanan
Michael D. Robledo, Sr. Gie-Arr R. Valdez Metodio D. Gonato