Sultan Kudarat Province (www.sultankudaratprovince.gov.ph)
Sultan Kudarat is a pro vince of the Philippines located in the SOCCSKSARGEN region in Mindanao. Its capital is Isulan.
Sultan Kudarat is located on the southwestern part of the island of Mindanao. It is bounded on the north by the provinces of Maguindanao and Cotabato; on the south by South Cotabato and Sarangani; on the east by Davao del Sur; and on the west by the Celebes Sea. The province's total land area is 529,834 hectares (1,309,250 acres).
The three coastal towns on the province's western side are lined with mountain ranges that separate the central part of the province from the sea. There are also mountains on the eastern side, leaving flat land in between.
The climate is characterized by a short dry season lasting from one to three months. Unlike most other provinces in the country, Sultan Kudarat is generally free from typhoons and rainfall is more evenly distributed throughout the year.
Sultan Kudarat is subdivided into 11 municipalities and 1 city. Three of the municipalities (Kalamansig, Lebak, and Palimbang) are coastal towns, while the rest of the province is located inland. The 11 municipalities and Tacurong City are further subdivided into 249 barangays.
Tacurong City is the smallest unit in the province in terms of land area, but it is the most urbanized, and is considered the province's commercial center. Other growth centers are Lebak and Isulan, the latter being the provincial capital. Bagumbayan is the largest town in terms of land area.
Sultan Kudarat was once a part of the former empire province of Cotabato. It was created as a separate province along with Maguindanao and North Cotabato on November 22, 1973, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 341 signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The purpose of dividing Cotabato into three (3) smaller provinces is stated in Presidential Decree No. 341:
“Whereas, the province of Cotabato is one of the largest and richest provinces of the Philippines;
Whereas, the potentials of the province have not been fully developed due to the magnitude of the task of provincial development and troubles that have long plagued the area;
Whereas, the many conflicting political, social and economic interests that have limited the progress of the province must be resolved in order to promote the stability and accelerate the development of Cotabato; and
Whereas, there is a need for dividing the present province into smaller units which can be more effectively administered and developed”.
The name Sultan Kudarat given to th
e province was derived from a Muslim ruler, Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat who begun to assert his leadership in the year 1619 and reigned the Sultanate of Maguindanao from 1625 to 1671. He is considered a national hero, and in his honour the province was named after him.
At the 2000 census, Sultan Kudarat had a total population of 586,505, which grew to 747,087 people in the 2010 census. The province formerly had a Muslim majority, but Christian migrants now outnumber Musli
ms and highlanders.
The Ilonggos constitute the majority of the Christian population; their native languages are Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a, which are the province's dominant language. Ilocano and Cebuano are also spoken in some municipalities. Maguindanao is the local language of the Muslim population. Ilocanos and Ilonggos are relative newcomers to the province; Cebuanos inhabited the island around 17th to 18th century.
The economy of Sultan Kudarat is predominantly agricultural. With a large agricultural potential, the output consists of practically all types of crops grown in the country, including rice, corn, beef, coffee, and vegetables. The province is self-sufficient in poultry, swine, and root crops, and is one of the few producers of Irish potatoes in the Philippines. The southern Philippines Grain Complex in Tacurong is the largest grains-processing complex in the country. There are more than 200 rice mills in the province.
Fishing is an expanding industry. Tuna caught along the coasts along the Celebes Sea are exported to Japan and Europe.
Other economic activities include cottage industries, which include crafts made of rattan and other types of wood.