From Bergonia: The Cityhood of Kidapawan

(This is a translation from the Tagalog of a section of Ferdinand Bergonia’s 2004 book on Kidapawan, Lungsod na Pinagpala: Kidapawan, the founding book of Kidapawan historiography. This is one of the book’s most informative portions. I own no part of the original material, and all rights to it belong to Bergonia. This translation, done as loyally to Bergonia’s as possible, is reproduced merely to spread information on Kidapawan’s history.)

 kidapawan_city_hall

In 1964, under the leadership of Mayor Emma B. Gadi, the Sanggunian Pambayan (municipal council) passed a resolution No. 84, allowing Speaker-ProTempore the Hon. Congressman Salipada K. Pendatun to declare Kidapawan a city and make it a summer resort in the southern part of Mindanao.

At the time Kidapawan was already a prosperous town with an income of P400,000.00. On the same year a resolution No. 210 which again asked the Hon.Congressman Salipada K. Pendatun to sponsor a bill in Congress that would make Kidapawan a ‘Chartered City.’ The congressman believed the bill to be a priority in Congress.

The Sangguniang Pambayan believed that cityhood would help in Kidapawan’s progress, it would bring many opportunities, and the capabilities of the Kidapaweños would be utilized.

on August 10, 1978, the Sangguniang Bayan of Kidapawan once again passed a resolution No. 78-076, which authorized mayor Augusto R. Gana to elect a member of the council to gather data needed in making Kidapawan a city. The following cities were visited because of an important purpose:

  1. The City of San Pablo
  2. The City of Cabanatuan
  3. The City of Lipa
  4. The City of Gingo-og
  5. The City of Cotabato
  6. The City of Canlaon
  7. The City of La Carlota

October 5, 1975, another resolution No. 78-108 was passed to form a committee to draft for Kidapawan’s cityhood. This was represented by the following officials:

  1. Councilor Arturo E. Amador Jr – Chairman
  2. Councilor Andres L. Tamayo – member
  3. Councilor Modesto L. Navales – member
  4. Councilor Cesar M. Sabulao – member

Another resolution with the number 78-109 was passed on this year that formed a committee to collate different reports about the different travels undertaken to gather information.

in 1995 the Aus AID (Austrailian Agency for International Development) helped the Cotabato Provincial Physical Framework Plan which urges the proclamation of Kidapawan as small city before 2002. its purpose encompassed the following:

  1. Trading and Commercial Center
  2. Transportation and Communication Hub
  3. Tourism Destination Site
  4. Politic-Administrative Center
  5. Manpower Development Center

This was unanimously endorsed, through the Provincial Land Use Committee (PLUC) by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) in 1996.

March 26, 1996 – members of the legislative body under the leadership of mayor Luis P. Malaluan, MD conducted research and studies on the city of Santiago, the first city created under the Local Government Code.

April 26, 1996 – Mayor Luis P. Malaluan passed Executive Order no. 96-014 creating Task Force Kidapawan Cityhood. Another Sangguniang Bayan resolution no. 174-96 was passed, requesting congressman Gregorio Andolana to author a bill in Congress that would make Kidapawan a city, attached with the endorsement of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan dated June 20, 1996. House Bill 9290 was the result the Hon. Gregorio Andolana produced with on that same year.

This caught the ears of the Kidapaweños. On October 25, 1997, news of the successful cityhood of Tagum came; a delegation led by mayor Malaluan visited the place. A group under the leadership of MPDC (Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator) Edgar Paalan soon formed and made (?) to prepare the complete documents so that it (?) may be passed promptly to the committee of the Secretariat, committee on Local Government (?), and the lower house of Congress; it was passed on November 12 1997.

While preparations were under way, another Sangguniang Bayan resolution No. 272-97 dated October 30, 1997 was passed endorsing House Bill no. 9290 entitled ‘An Act Converting the Municipality of Kidapawan into a Component City of Cotabato Province.’

The first public hearing was held at the Notre Dame of Kidapawan College on November 24, 1997. Unfortunately the contingency of the Hon. Ciriaco Alfelor, Chairman, Committee on Local Government of the lower house was left behind by its flight to Davao, and it stayed in Cebu instead of attending the public hearing on Kidapawan’s cityhood.

The welcome party led by former congressman Gregorio Andolana returned to Kidapawan (NDKC Gym) and symbolically received the keys and documents in the name of the committee on Local Government.

On the afternoon of the same day mayor Luis P. Malaluan and the first councilor the Hon. Rodolfo Gantuangco flew to Cebu and called on the phone to wake Congressman Alfelor and arrange a meeting in the lobby of the Water Front Hotel.

On the 20th of December 1997, the second public hearing was held. This was attended by a delegation of 3,000 representing different sections of the community and the committee on Local Government of the lower house led by the Hon. Alfelor and the Hon. Navarro.

Aside from the Position Letter signed by several individuals and associations, the day also saw the dominant ‘YES’ which served as a sign of the fate the premier Municipality would have.

The ‘bid’ was approved by the committee with the notation laying out the repeated broad consultation to be held. February 12, 1998 – the former President Fidel Valdez Ramos signed Republic Act 8500 which served as the law and declaration creating Kidapawan a component city of the province of Cotabato.

The first conference which involved a group critical of Kidapawan’s cityhood and of the city authorities was held on March 6, 1998 at Caroland Cafe, Kidapawan City. No objections or compromises arose from the said gathering.

On March 13, 1998, at exactly 3:30 in the afternoon, a conference with a larger group, composed of different sectors including the Diocese of Kidapawan, faced representatives of the city government and discussed issues and motives behind the proposed cityhood. Some issues were criticized, and some condemnation was raised on the insufficient consultation and information on the ‘bid’ and the plans pertaining to it.

By the afternoon, the issue was referred to the bottom (?). Bishop Romulo Valles, D.D., Bishop of Kidapawan, voiced out his opinion that the ‘bid”s deficiencies were not conceptual but procedural. The gathering pushed for further and more vigorous information dissemination on the merits and disadvantages of the ‘bid’ until the day of the plebiscite and the establishment of the right to participate afterwards.

On March 21, 1998, Republic Act 8500 was ratified with a convenient 76% result. Only 47% of total registered voters turned out in the precincts.

On April 13, 1998, the ‘City Transition Plan Committee,’ composed of several residents and groups was formed. The draft plan for transition was presented for deliberation on their first meeting, held one June 3, 1998.

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