Cotabato City (www.cotabatocity.net.ph)
Cotabato City, officially the City of Cotabato (Filipino: Lungsod ng Kutabato), is one of the cities of the Philippines located in Mindanao. Cotabato's population was 271,786 in the 2010 census.
Cotabato City is the regional center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but the city is administratively part of the SOCCSKSARGEN region, which is composed of provinces of
South Cotabato, North Cotabato (Cotabato Province), Sultan Kudarat, and Saranggani, as well as the highly urbanized city of General Santos. For geographical purposes, it is grouped with Maguindanao, or for statistical reasons sometimes grouped with Cotabato, and does not belong to the ARMM. Cotabato City is distinct from and should not be confused with the province of Cotabato.
Cotabato City had witnessed more history than any other place in Mindanao. Its history dates back to the 15th century when Shariff Kabunsuan, an Arab missionary, landed along the banks of the Rio Grande de Mindanao and introduced Islam to the natives. Islam was
the faith that moved the early settlers to communal life, and to establish the Sultanate of Maguindanao with its golden age ushered in by Sultan Dipatuan Qudarat during the 17th century the time when Cotabato City developed as the capital town of Maguindanao.
In the nineteenth century, when Sultan Makakua ruled, roads and wharfs were constructed which gave rise to the birth of modern-day Cotabato. However, the then Municipality of Cotabato was first organized at the later part of the 19th century when the Spaniards established a military post at what is now Barangay Tamontaka, one of the earliest Christian settlements founded south of the Philippines. Cotabato was then officially founded in 1862 when the Pueblo de Cotabato was established; Christianity was introduced in the area in around the year 1870.
Datu Piang, fourth from the left, with American officers. He was the first governor of the Empire Province of Cotabato, which existed from 1920 to 1967.
Following the Spanish evacuation in Jan. 1899, Datu Piang led the Moro's in a massacre of the remaining Christian community, enslaving those they did not kill. 529–530 Americans arrived in Mindanao in 1900 after the Spanish-American War ended in 1898. Cotabato town was part of Moro Province and of Department of Mindanao and Sulu from 1903 to 1920, when the Empire Province of Cotabato, referred to as "Moroland" by the Americans, was founded with the town as the capital, with Datu Piang, known as the Grand Old Man of Cotabato, as its first governor.
Several towns were carved off from Cotabato town beginning in the year 1936, with Dulawan (now Datu Piang, Maguindanao) and Midsayap being the first ones which were incorporated as regular municipalities.
In 1942, at the beginning of the Pacific Front of World War II, the Japanese Imperial forces entered what is now Maguindanao province. In 1945, Maguindanao was liberated by allied Philippine Commonwealth troops and Muslim Maguindanaoan guerrilla units after defeating the Japanese Imperial forces in the Battle of Maguindanao during the Second World War.
Several towns were carved off from Cotabato town since the year 1913, with Pikit being the first one founded by Cebuano Christian colonists. Dulawan (now Datu Piang, Maguindanao) and Midsayap were incorporated as towns in 1936. In August 18, 1947, just two years after the Second World War and a year after the official inauguration of Philippine independence, the number of towns in the gigantic Cotabato province were multiplied by Executive Order No. 82 signed by President Manuel Roxas, namely: Kidapawan, Pagalungan, Buayan, Marbel, Parang, Nuling, Dinaig, Lebak, Buluan, Kiamba, and Cabacan, a total of eleven (11) towns added to the previous four towns; the newly founded towns of Kabuntalan, Pikit (conversion as regular municipality), and Glan added up in September 30, 1949. More and more newly created towns added up in the province's number of towns as the province entered the second half of the 20th century.
On July 1, 1950, the then Municipality of Cotabato was made first class municipality under Executive Order No. 466. Nine years later, it became a city on July 10, 1959, and on June 20, 1959 it was officially created into a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 2364.
During the beginning of the 1950s up to the mid-1970s, Cotabato City was by far the second largest and most progressive city in Mindanao, after Davao City, with its population of more than 200,000 people residing in the city that time. However, mass insurgencies and much disorder between Christians and local Muslims in the region, began in the mid-1960 during the Marcos administration, capitulated into the city's economic decline, so the provincial government moved its provisional capital to Pagalungan in 1967 to avoid internal strife in the city. This made the city mostly isolated to other important economic centers in Mindanao.
When the original Province of Cotabato was dissolved 1967, the city used to be part of the newly founded North Cotabato province until 1973; since then the city was the administrative center of the ARMM. However, the city broke off administratively from Maguindanao as it rejoined SOCCSKSARGEN in the 1990s. Now many sources consider the city as part of the present North Cotabato Province, although statistically it is still considered part of Maguindanao.
Cotabato is approximately 698.9 nautical miles (1294 km) from Manila, the country's capital, and is bounded by the municipalities of Sultan Kudarat to the north—with Rio Grande de Mindanao separating the two—Kabuntalan to the east, and Datu Odin Sinsuat to the south. The city faces Illana Bay, part of the Moro Gulf, to the west.
Cotabato City has a total land area of 176.0 square kilometers, located at the mouth of the Rio Grande de Mindanao and Pulangi River.
Under the Köppen climate classification system, Cotabato City features a tropical rainforest climate (Af), falling just short of a tropical monsoon climate (Am).
Majority are Magindanaon which comprises the city's population about 61%. There are some sizable ethnicity of Maranaos (8%), Tagalog (9%),Cebuano (8%) and Ilonggo (6%). The rest of the population belongs to the other ethnicity ( e.g.Iranon,Binisaya,Tausug).
Cotabato City formerly houses as many as Christians as were Muslims before the onset of the Islamic rebellion in Mindanao.[clarification needed] Today majority of the city's population are Muslims, which comprises about 70% of their population.
Cotabato City, historically, during its heyday as the capital of the Maguindanao Sultanate, has been the most economically prosperous city in the island of Mindanao. Its prosperity has been taken away by civil internal strife beginning in the 1970s. However, once it became part of SOCCSKSARGEN region in the 1990s, its economy began a radical economic recovery.
As of now, the city currently serves as the center for economic support activities, trade and finance, education and other support services such as social, physical, cultural and other basic services of Central Mindanao. It is now struggling to gain its lost glory.