[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith the National and Local Elections 2016 just a few days away, I thought of giving our readers, most specially the generals, an important lesson in the history of General Santos.
Before going to the polls on Monday, May 9th 2016 to choose our next city mayor, I believe it would be an important thing for us to know who our past mayors were and the years of their tenure. This info might not affect the way you vote next week for our next leader but will hopefully, give you an idea of the identities of the men and women who led General Santos into becoming one of the country’s most progressive cities.
Here then are the Mayors of General Santos City, from past to present, in chronological order. Thanks to the SP General Santos and City Public Library for these photos and for most of the information. Mabuhay kayo!
1. DATU SHARIF ZAINAL ABEDIN (1939- 1943) – the first appointed Municipal District Mayor of Buayan Municipal District (former name of General Santos City).
2. IRENEO L. SANTIAGO (January 1948 – December 1955) – the first appointed Mayor of Rajah Buayan District (another former name of General Santos City).
TRIVIA: Gensan’s business district, Ireneo L. Santiago Boulevard was named after him. Before that, it used to be Gallego Boulevard.
3. PEDRO A. ACHARON, SR. (January 1956 – December 1959) – Elected 2nd Mayor of the Municipality of General Santos City and before that, Vice Mayor of the 1st Municipal Council of Buayan (1948 – 1951)
TRIVIA: The former Morrow Boulevard was renamed to Pedro A. Acharon, Boulevard. He is the father of incumbent Representative of the First District of South Cotabato and former 3-termer Mayor of Gensan, Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. Under him, feeder roads connecting farms to the National Highway were built along with artesian wells in the different districts. He also carried on the rehabilitation of the Buayan Airport devastated during World War II. In 1959, the Makar Wharf was declared an open Point of Entry.
4. JORGE P. ROYECA (January 1969 to December 1963) – Elected 3rd Mayor of Municipality of General Santos.
TRIVIA: The City District Hospital was just recently named after him. Mayor Royeca was himself, a physician.
5. LUCIO C. VELAYO (January 1964 to December 1967) – Elected 4th Mayor of the Municipality of General Santos
TRIVIA: It was during Mayor Lucio Velayo’s administration that local economic growth surged forward with the entry of multinationals Dole, General Milling Corporation and UDAGRI.
6. ANTONIO C. ACHARON – elected 5th Mayor of General Santos (January 3, 1968 – March 14, 1986). He is the first City Mayor when the Municipality of Gen. Santos was declared a city on July 8, 1968 through Republic Act 5412, authored by then Honorable Congressman James L. Chiongbian. Later, it was inaugurated on September 5, 1968 with its incumbent mayor — Hon. Antonio C. Acharon as the first City Mayor.
TRIVIA: Mayor Antonio C. Acharon was the son of Mayor Pedro B. Acharon and the elder brother of now Congressman Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. of the 1st District of South Cotabato. The Antonio C. Acharon Sports Complex was named after him. He is the city’s longest running mayor after serving for 18 years. During his term, the city’s agriculture and fishery sectors flourished thus improving the city’s standing from 3rd Class City to First Class A.
7. ATTY. DOMINADOR A. LAGARE – appointed City Officer-in-Charge after the EDSA Revolution; he is the 6th Mayor of General Santos (March 21, 1986 to March 30, 1987).
TRIVIA: Atty. Lagare was a three-termer councilor, same with his son, Dom-Dom, who followed after him.
8. ROSALITA T. NUÑEZ – OIC City Mayor (May 22, 1987 to December 3, 1987). Before that, she was OIC Vice Mayor of the 6th City Council (April 1986 – March 1987). 7th Mayor of General Santos.
TRIVIA: Mayor Nuñez, before joining politics, was an educator, having taught at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University – Elementary; was Principal of the NDDU – High School and Assistant Professor of Xavier University, Notre Dame of Marbel University and Mindanao State University. Some of the current city councilors were her students.
9. J.F. ANTONIO S. MUNDA – OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, City Mayor. The 8th Mayor of General Santos City (3rd Appointed Mayor) (December 1987 – April 1988)
10. MARCELO ARGULLANA (1988) – OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, CITY MAYOR.
11. ROSALITA T. NUÑEZ – ELECTED CITY MAYOR (1988 – 1992). 9th Mayor of General Santos.
12. ADELBERT W. ANTONINO – ELECTED CITY MAYOR (July 1, 1992 – June 30, 1995), 10th Mayor of General Santos.
TRIVIA: Mayor Adelbert Antonino is the father of Darlene, who herself was elected mayor in 2010. Under him, the General Santos City Fishport Development Complex started construction in December 1994 and finished in March 1999, during his second term as City Mayor. His push for the establishment of Socsksargen Growth Region was further boosted by the implementation of the Philippine Assistance Program (PAP) Projects like the Gensan International Standard Airport, the Makar Wharf Development, the PFDA Port Complex and the Pavement of the Road Network connecting Gensan to SoCot and Sarangani.
13. ROSALITA T. NUÑEZ – Elected City Mayor (July 1, 1995 – June 30, 1998). 11th Mayor of General Santos.
TRIVIA: During this tenure of the mayor, the city hosted the PALARONG PAMBANSA for the first time, along with the BIMP-EAGA GAMES thus cementing the city’s reputation and readiness as a host for large gatherings.
14. ADELBERT W. ANTONINO – Elected City Mayor (July 1, 1998 – June 30, 2001). 12th Mayor of General Santos
TRIVIA: Mayor Antonino hosted the First Tuna Congress in September 2000 and along with it, the creation of the Tuna Festival, commemorating the city’s charterhood anniversary and as an ode to the city’s #1 economic driver, the fishing industry.
15. PEDRO B. ACHARON, JR. – Elected City Mayor (July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2010). 13th Mayor of General Santos. Prior to this, he was Vice Mayor of the 12th City Council (July 1, 1998 – June 30, 2001).
TRIVIA: Mayor Acharon made official the greeting “Magandang Gensan” for the city which the generals have been using until now. Under him, the Investment Board was convened to come up with an attractive Investments Code for would-be investors. This paved the way for numerous establishments to open here and avail of tax incentives including Robinsons Place Gensan and various players in varied industries, like hotels, among others. Under him, the city was awarded Most and one of the most Competitive Mid-Sized Cities in the country, in separate years.
He also established the Yaman Gensan – Gensan Business Month, starting in June 2000, to give focus on the city’s emerging SMEs. Along with this, the annual PASKOHAN SA GENSAN was also initiated. Together with the Kalilangan Festival and the Tuna Festival, the city won numerous awards from different tourism groups in the country for these festivals.
16. PEDRO B. ACHARON, JR. – Re-Elected City Mayor (July 1, 2004 – June 30, 2007), 14th Mayor of General Santos
17. PEDRO B. ACHARON, JR. – Re-Elected City Mayor (July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2010), 15th Mayor of General Santos
18. DARLENE R. ANTONINO-CUSTODIO – Elected City Mayor (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2013), 16th Mayor of General Santos.
TRIVIA: Mayor Darlene Custodio is the eldest daughter of former mayor, Adelbert Antonino. During her term, was the entry of SM City General Santos, the biggest mall chain in the Philippines. As Chair of the Regional Development Council, she pushed for the funding and implementation of projects not only for the city (Circumferential Road Linkages, LED Streetlamps, etc) but for the rest of Soccsksargen, as well. Under her, the city’s SHEEP Program made strides in promoting Information Technology and Web Tools Usage among the generals, from kids to Senior Citizens.
19. RONNEL C. RIVERA – Elected Mayor (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016). The 17th Mayor of General Santos City. He was City Councilor from July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2013).
TRIVIA: Mayor Rivera was the #1 Councilor (Independent) before he was elected Mayor in 2013. Their family conglomerate is one of the biggest employers in the city, having interests in fishing, canning, real estate, hotel industry and housing development, etc. Under him, the city passed the Anti-Smoking Ordinance thus clearing the way for healthier generals and a CLEAN Gensan. One of his administration’s very first moves and the most notable, is the request to speed up the conversion of the land use of the UST lot in Barangays Ligaya and Tinagacan into agri-institutional by the DAR for the university to commence construction of their school. On May 2, 2016, the request was granted by the DAR.
With this short lesson in history, we hope you could be better motivated to vote for Gensan’s leaders this Monday. Meanwhile, #VoteWisely and when in doubt, #GoogleMoMuna.
NOTE: This blogpost is still a continuing work-in-progress. You may want to suggest more TRIVIA for our honorable mayors. Due to lack of time, these were the only ones we were able to come up with. Again, thanks to SP Gensan and the Gensan City Public Library for these available info from your websites. Great job!