South Cotabato Province (http://www.southcotabato.gov.ph)
Centuries ago, the area that would be South Cotabato was sparsely inhabited by Malay Pioneers which later evolved into various ethnic groupings that still exist in the province today.
Settlers, who would lay the foundation of what would become a progressive province, started trooping down in 1914. The significant thrust occurred during the term of President Quezon in the late 30's. The first of waves of settlers that time was led by Gen. Paulino Santos, a man whose undaunted pioneering spirit inspired thousands. After World War II, the final exodus of settlers from Luzon and the Visayas poured into the virgin land of promise.
In the early 60's as population, trade and industries grew in this southern part of Cotabato, a clamor for local self-governance arose. Thus, on July 18, 1966, South Cotabato was finally formed as an independent province raring to push its own development.
In 1992, South Cotabato gave birth to a new province. Seven towns in the southern and coastal section of the province now form part of the Province of Sarangani. That was a new challenge. And South Cotabatenos, with their indomitable pioneering spirit have proven once more their ability to face and hurdle diverse challenges and ably went through with the demands of times.
South Cotabato sparks new interest having emerged as the favorite venue for conventions and big events of national significance like the National Secondary School Press Conference, the Palarong Pambansa and the 9th Mindanao Business Conference to name a few.
The new millennium ushers in a new beginning for the province with the coming in of regional offices in the area in consonance with EO 429 dated October 12, 1990 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino and EO No. 36 dated September 19, 2001 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, provide for the reorganization of the new Administrative Region in Mindanao and having the city of Koronadal as the regional center of Region XII.
In only three decades since its provincehood, South Cotabato has already surpassed dozens of provinces established half a century ahead in almost every aspect of
development. In a short span, it become one of the leading provinces in Mindanao. What it got to show today are vivid results of human synergy and the richness of its resources.
South Cotabato is a province where people from various origins in the country converge and live in harmony despite the diversity in customs, traditions and dialects from their places of origin.
Majority of the population in the province are speaking hiligaynon consistingof about 52% of the total population. in terms of religion, catholic dominates the scene with 65% to total population.
LOCATION AND BOUNDARIES
South Cotabato is located in the southern part of the island of Mindanao. It is bounded by the province of Sultan Kudarat in the north and west, in the east and south by the city of General Santos and province of Sarangani. It lies at a latitude of about 6°15′ north and about 125° longitude. Its main access to the sea is
through the Sarangani Bay where the modern port of General Santos City is located.
The place is generally flat dotted with some hills and mountains.
South Cotabato belongs to the fourth type of climate, that is rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. The average number of rainy days for the year 2004 is recorded between 122 to 180 days with the months of May, June, July, August and October having the most occurrence.
Air humidity generally follows closely the rainfall pattern. Humidity is highest during the period of June to October with 88% being recorded at the Tupi seed farm. The months of February and April have the lowest air humidity recorded at about 72%.
Maximum daytime temperature throughout the province is in the range of 36-38 degrees celcius, falling to 23-32 degrees celsius during the night depending on the elevation. The hottest period is January to April while July to December being the coolest.
The province is a key player in the merging of South Cotabato , Sarangani and General Santos City into one of the country's fastest growing development clusters known as SOCSARGEN. SOCSARGEN serves as a gateway for the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). With its location, it is easily accessible from neighboring ASEAN countries via SOCSARGEN's entryway, General Santos City , with its International Standard Airport that puts key cities in Asia just three to four hours flying time away.
There's a Fish Port Complex that serves the region's thriving fishing industry. The Makar Wharf is a major port-of-call in international shipping, and one of the most important ports in Mindanao . All have paved the way to make the constantly evolving SOCSARGEN the venue for a synergetic relationship. SOCSARGEN's gateway, General Santos City , is merely five minutes away from one of South Cotabato 's municipalities, Polomolok.
The province has a total land area of about 3,706 square kilometers. A large reduction of its land area was due to the creation of Sarangani Province. The biggest municipality is Lake Sebu with a total land area of approximately 891.38 square kilometers. T'boli is next with an area of 809.00 square kilometers followed by Polomolok with 339.97 sq. km. The smallest municipalities are Tantangan and Sto. Nino with an area of 126.00 and 109.04 square kilometers, respectively.
South Cotabato is rich in mineral resources especially in the mountainous areas of the municipality of Tampakan where Gold and Copper deposits are found. The municipality of T'boli is also a source of gold particularly in Brgy. Kematu.
The exploration activities of small scale mining companies in the province revealed an indicated reserve of 2.2 billion tons of copper and 2.4 million tons of
inferred gold and about 2 million inferred iron reserves.
Non-metallic resources found in the province include sand and gravel, agri lime, shale, sandstone and jasperoid which are all pegged in millions of metric tons.
The clay deposit found in Tantangan and Tampakan which is best suited for pottery and bricks has an estimated reserved of about 622,203 cubic meters
Upon its creation as a regular province, South Cotabato consisted of 11 municipalities, namely: Banga, General Santos (now a city), Glan, Kiamba, Koronadal, Maitum, Norala, Polomolok, Surallah, Tantangan and Tupi. These municipalties were established long before the creation of the province. Other component municipalities were constituted after it fully functioned as a province. A total of 18 municipalities have contributed much to the development of South Cotabato being
one of the fast growing provinces in the country.
The birth of Sarangani Province, conceived from the municipalities of Malungon, Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum has brought changes in the geography and political subdivisions of the province. That event left South Cotabato with 11 remaining municipalities.
Further, on August 16, 2000 , Republic Act No. 8803 was approved. This marks another milestone in the history of South Cotabato . This is an act that converts the municipality of Koronadal into a component city of South Cotabato . Thus, at present the province is left with ten (10) progressing municipalities and the City of
Koronadal remains as its Provincial Capital.
Moreover, South Cotabato has a total of 199 barangays and two (2) more are being proposed and still waiting for the approval of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). These proposed barangays are both under the municipality of T'boli.
As the provincial capital and the center of development, Koronadal is situated at a distance of 58 kilometers from the city of General Santos . Banga poblacion, which is 13 kilometers away from Koronadal City, is the nearest among the 10 municipalities. The second and third nearest municipalities are Tampakan and Tantangan lying 14 and 18 kilometers away from the radius of the provincial center, respectively. The farthest municipality is Lake Sebu which is 47 kilometers away.