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Brief History of the Province

The original mother Province of Davao was divided into three (3) provinces, namely: Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental by virtue of the bill authored by then Congressman. Hon. Lorenzo S. Sarmiento, Sr., which bill was passed into law and became known as R.A. 4867 dated 8 May 1967. The three provinces simultaneously celebrate their anniversary every 1st of July.

When it was created, Davao del Norte was composed of thirteen (13) municipalities, namely: Asuncion, Babak, Compostela, Kapalong, Mabini, Mawab, Monkayo, Nabunturan, Panabo, Pantukan, Samal, Sto. Tomas and Tagum. Six (6) additional municipalities were created as of May 6, 1970. These were Carmen, Kaputian, Maco, Montevista, New Bataan and New Corella. As of 1996, the province had a total of twenty-two (22) municipalities with the creation of San Vicente (now Laak) in 1979, Maragusan in 1988 and Talaingod in 1990.

The first Governor, Hon. Verulo C. Boiser was appointed by the President. He served the Province for ten years, which was from July 1, 1967 to July 7, 1977. This corresponds to two years as appointed Governor and two terms as elected Governor.

In 1972, during the term of Governor Boiser, the infrastructure development of Davao del Norte was given a big boost when the province qualified among the twenty eight (28) provinces nationwide to be included in the development program of the MLGCD and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under this program, the Province successfully implemented the Rural Roads Program (RRP) for fifteen years and the Barangay Water Program (BWP) for eleven years.

The second Provincial Chief Executive was Governor Gregorio R. Dujali who was also extended a presidential appointment when the first Governor stepped down from the gubernatorial position on July 7, 1977. Like his predecessor, Governor Dujali also served Davao del Norte as the appointed governor for one year and as an elective governor for two terms until March 31, 1986.

During the term of office of Governor Dujali, agricultural endeavors of the provincial government gained prominence. One of the significant projects was the "Pagkain ng Bayan", a demonstration/model rice farm administered by the provincial government, which also generated income for the province. This economic enterprise was later expanded to include the production of other agricultural products. The "Pagkain ng Bayan" site has been the venue of several trainings jointly sponsored by the Japan-based Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) and the Province of Davao del Norte.

Under the Dujali administration many people in the province had availed themselves of agricultural livelihood projects.

On February 25,1986, Her Excellency, Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino was installed as President of the Philippines by virtue of the "People Power" otherwise known as the EDSA Revolution. Davao del Norte was among the local government units that experienced a change of officials.

Hon. Prospero S. Amatong was appointed as the OIC-Governor of Davao del Norte on April 4, 1986. Together with him, six board members were also appointed, but four of them resigned when they ran for congressional positions. Consequently, four new members of the Provincial Board were appointed to fill in the vacancies.

The administration of Governor Amatong ushered in a new style of leadership. His untiring close supervision on the implementation of infrastructure projects resulted to the completion of several buildings, roads and bridges.

It was also during the term of Governor Amatong when the peace and order situation greatly improved. Owing to the cease-fire that resulted to the mass surrender of insurgents, a rehabilitation center for rebel returnees was established and these returnees were given the opportunity to earn a living through livelihood projects.

In his bid for the 1988 election, Governor Amatong resigned from his appointive position on November 30, 1987. The Chief Local Government Officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Davao del Norte, Mr. Romeo S. Jardenico took over as OIC Governor for two weeks until the appointment of Atty. Jesus T. Albacite as OIC Governor. However, the term of OIC Governor Albacite was shortlived, lasting only for twenty one (21) days when due to certain constitutional provisions, the position of OIC Governor was extended to Hon. Cecilia de la Paz.

On February 3, 1988, Governor Prospero S. Amatong took his oath as the new governor of Davao del Norte.

During the term of office of Governor Amatong, the economic development of the Province of Davao del Norte had been greatly enhanced as more projects were implemented. Davao del Norte was one of the pilot provinces for the decentralization program which were granted financial assistance by the national government termed as Block Grant in the amount of P120 Million for social, agricultural and infrastructure development.

The administration of Governor Amatong marked the turning point in the implementation scheme for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. Since the province had purchased heavy equipment, the contractors were no longer involved in the implementation of roads and bridges. The Governor himself conducted actual visits to the projects to ensure that these were properly implemented.

With the implementation of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, Non-Government organizations like the cooperatives were involved in government endeavors. This partnership between government and non-government organizations in the pursuit of development was contributory in hastening the progress of the province and in achieving a better quality of life for the people of Davao del Norte.

The same Local Government Code inspired Governor Amatong to pursue the implementation of the first ever reorganization of employees in the provincial government on December 16, 1991. This reorganization has rightfully placed the structure and functions of every office in a proper perspective that is more responsive and supportive to local government services delivery. Still with RA 7160, devolution of functions of a number of national government agencies to the provincial government was made possible.

Among the highlights of achievement under the leadership of Gov. Prospero S. Amatong were the three Galing Pook Awards received for three (3) consecutive years by the Province of Davao del Norte from the Asian Institute of Management and the Department of the Interior and local Government. The said award was given for having excelled in its agricultural program in 1995 and 1996 and its health program in 1997. These were the 1995 Trichogramma; 1996 Sustainable Food Security Program and the 1997 Blood Sufficiency Program.

Considering these prestigious awards received for three (3) consecutive years, Davao del Norte was included in the Hall of Fame for which it was awarded another plaque.

On January 30, 1998, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Republic Act No.8470 creating the Province of Compostela Valley out of Davao Province. Other historical events that transpired in Davao del Norte together with the creation of Compostela Valley were: the enactment of Republic Act No. 8471, creating the Island Garden City of Samal comprising the former municipalities of Babak, Samal and Kaputian; Republic Act No. 8472 converting Tagum municipality into Tagum City, the seat of the provincial government of Davao del Norte Province; and Republic Act 8473 creating the municipality of Braulio E. Dujali from the municipalities of Carmen and Panabo are components of Davao del Norte province. In the turn of events, the province had a political composition of eight municipalities and two cities with 223 barangays.

The term of Governor Prospero S. Amatong ended on March 26, 1998 when he took his Oath of Office as Governor of the newly created province of Compostela Valley on the same day.

The national and local election period from April 1 to June 30, 1999 necessitated the appointment of interim provincial officials headed by Hon. Anecito M. Solis as the Acting Governor.

Hon. Rodolfo P. del Rosario was elected and sworn into office as the first Governor of the new Davao del Norte Province on July 1, 1998.

His leadership concerns were on programs for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. His priority programs were the protection and preservation of our natural resources, human resource development to include education, health and employment generation, cooperative development and the review and modification of the financial policy of the province.

Gov. del Rosario institutionalized the "Cluster Development" approach that grouped municipalities and cities for better developmental complementation.

Subsequently, on March 31, 2001 the Municipality of Panabo was converted into a by virtue of Republic Act 1015. This changed the administrative composition of Davao del Norte to seven municipalities and three cities. Honorable Congressman Antonio R. Floirendo, Jr. sponsored the bill creating the City of Panabo.

One of the remarkable features of good governance exemplified under the leadership of Gov. Rodolfo P. del Rosario is the bonding together of the elected provincial officials into an organization known as "Hugpong Dabaonon" wherein said officials made a commitment to work together, setting aside political affiliation and ideological differences. This manifestation of unity and solidarity is instrumental in effecting the fast pace of development in Davao del Norte.

Priority programs and projects in his time were the Integrated Water Resource Development Project where a feasibility study was made on the potable water supply in the province; the establishment of the Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC) launched in 1999; the Davao del Norte Investment Promotion Center (DNIPC) aimed at increasing investment/business opportunities; the "Medicare para sa Masa" program; the Nutrition Program; the Surgical Outreach Program and the opening of the Carmen District Hospital; "Luntiang Paraiso" rehabilitation center for drug dependents in New Corella; the Sports Development Program and the full support for the Summer Program for Employment of Students (SPES).

Economic services anchored on the MBN concept included projects such as the Infrastructure Project for the Enhancement of Rural Productivity (IPERP), livestock production and animal dispersal projects, the Community-Based Forest Resource Management Project, the Coastal Resource Management Project and the Upland Development Program.

Another landmark, the "Tahanan ng Punong Lalawigan", the official residence of the Provincial Chief Executive of Davao del Norte, was constructed within the compound of the provincial government center.

As member of the Davao Integrated Development Program (DIDP) major economic projects such as farm-to-market roads and Upland Farming Model Villages were realized.

On March 15, 2004, a new municipality was born. Republic Act No. 9265 created the Municipality of San Isidro, the eighth municipality of Davao del Norte. This municipality compises 6 barangays culled out from the Municipality of Kapalong and 7 barangays culled out from the Municipality of Asuncion. The bill was sponsored by Cong. Arrel R. Olano of District I. The seat of this new local government unit is in Barangay Sawata. Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario served for two terms only. His decision not to run for re-election paved the way for Hon. Gelacio P. Gementiza, Mayor of Tagum City to run for governor of Davao del Norte. His landslide victory gave him a new mandate to head as the governor of the Province of Davao del Norte.

The centerpiece program of government of Governor Gementiza is the social services development and peace and order stability of Davao del Norte. In his inaugural address he pledged to continue the implementation of on-going programs and projects geared towards attaining poverty alleviation through the MBN approach.

During the 2007 election, Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario decided to run again and won the race against Governor Gementiza.

In his second time around, he leads the province with a much deeper purpose and commitment as he laid down his centre-piece of governance, the "RDR WHEELS" that spells out his strategic goals, development thrusts and directions, to wit:

R- Roads and Infrastructure Development
D- Development of Cooperatives in all sectors
R- Reforms in Governance and Peace and Order
W- Water and electricity development
H- Health, Housing, Sanitation and Social Services
E- Economic Development and Environment Protection/Rehabilitation
E- Education, Culture, Sports and Human Development
L- Livelihood and Skills Development Program
S- Spiritual and Moral Recovery Program

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