Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Being named Sikatuna doesn’t mean that we used to be the colony of the Great Chieftain. History is bereft of evidence that shows any relics or traces of the Chieftain’s presence in this little piece of territory. In fact, nothing has been recorded about his exact place of abode in the Island of Bohol. But why did we use the name SIKATUNA anyway?
It was said that the privillege of naming our town was given to Clemente Lacea as a token of his tireless advocacy that cost him years to fruition. Although initially, it was a pure preference stripped of relevance, the name Sikatuna found justification from the famous moniker “SAIKATONA” coined by the distinguised Miguel Oppus (Mayor of Baclayon and later Provincial Board Member), that describes our journey to townhood from Barrio CAMBOJOD of Baclayon, to Barrio CORNAGO of Alburquerque, and finally to the Town SIKATUNA Bohol. “SA IKA TO NA nahimong lungsod ang Sikatuna” , was the witty remark of Miguel Oppus describing our historic leap to three territories. This feat, befits us the name SIKATUNA from the moniker SAIKATONA.
The story of our political past goes this way. In the very beginning, we were part of Baclayon as Barrio CAMBOJOD. Then later on, when Alburquerque became a town, we were made a part of its new territory, and our name was changed to CORNAGO. As part of Alburquerque, Cornago used to be the northern-most barrio bordering the boundaries of the towns of Corella, Balilihan, Sevilla, and Loboc. This geographical setting of Cornago unexpectedly bred serious political and reigious confusions among the inhabitants in its peripheries. Depending on where they were proximately situated, several inhabitants tend to render civil obedience to either Corella, Balilihan, Sevilla, or Loboc, rather than to their far away mother town of Alburquerque. On matters of faith they go to Church where they are near, and in observing traditional feast day of Patron Saints they also join the feast day celebration of Corella, Balilihan, Sevilla, and Loboc, in addition to the feast day of Alburquerque. All these confusions moved the kind hearted Kapitan Clemente Lacea to pity, so much so, that he vowed to give them a separate and distinct identity from Alburquerque and its neighboring towns.
Two possible options were seriously considered by Clemente Lacea, that is, to make a Town out of Barrio Cornago, or at least, make it a Parish. This dream sparked an active initiative beginning sometime in June 1909 when Clemente Lacea broached the idea to his closest friend Miguel Oppus, the Municipal President of Baclayon, who in turn readily supported the idea and endorsed it to the Office of Bohol Governor Macario Sarmiento.
But despite the help of Governor Sarmiento, the townhood process wasn’t an easy journey. At first the endorsement letter of Governor Sarmiento to Governor – General James Francis Smith was received lightly for varied reasons including the vehement opposition of Julian Ugdoracion, the Municipal President of Alburquerque. The same fate happened when the Philippine Governor – General was changed to William Cameron Forbes, who likewise trashed aside the townhood proposal of Barrio Cornago in the light of the opposition raised by the Municipal President of Alburquerque.
This double whammy experience of Clemente Lacea made him think of shifting gear to the alternative plan of creating the Paroquia de San Antonio de Padua. Thus, as suggested by his friends, Clemente Lacea wrote a letter to the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Cebu for guidance how to go about the creation of a Parish or at least a Church for common worship area. However, the response of the Bishop of Cebu that came out later, favors the creation of a town first before building a church. As a matter of strict conditionality, a Church can be built only after creating a Town complete with a Town Hall, a School, and Market. That pronouncement of the Bishop of the Diocese of Cebu, was something that spiced up the dampened zeal of Clemente Lacea and the enthusiasm of the people of Cornago. This made them all the more focused on their desire to convert Cornago into a town first and a parish later.
From then on, both civic and religious groups of Barrio Cornago were unanimous in pushing Clemente Lacea to seek the assistance of Atty. Jose Aniceto Butalid Clarin (Representative of the Second District of Bohol in the Philippine Legislature), for advice and guidance in their endeavors of establishing a new town. The good bachelor lawyer in turn readily lent his services. Atty. Jose Clarin happily guided and taught them how to establish a new town.
The Final Draft of the Proposed Town of Sikatuna was formally submitted by Atty. Jose A. Clarin to the new Governor – General Francis Burton Harrision on 27 December 1914. At the same time a copy was also sent to the Bishop of the Diocese of Cebu for the intended creation of the Parish of San Antonio de Padua. In the said final draft, the proposed territory of Sikatuna was formed by merging adjoining sitios in order to make out the seven (7) component barrios of the Proposed Town of Sikatuna, described, to wit :
1. Sitio Abucay of Barrio Cornago, Sitio Sambog of Barrio Cornago and Sito Tinghoyan of Barrio Cornago were formed as
2. Sitio Buntud Dacu of Barrio Badiang, Sitio Badiang of Barrio Cornago, Sitio Lahug of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Maglihi of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Badiang;
3. Sitio Canagong of Barrio Cornago, Sitio Cogon of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Odtohan of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Can-agong;
4. Barrio Cambuac of Loboc, Sitio Baliti of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Pangkaanan of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Cambuac;
5. Sitio Calobijan of Barrio Cornago, Sitio Jalasan of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Libjo of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Libjo;
6. Sitio Cambuyod of Barrio Cornago, Sitio Gabon of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Bahaybahay, the new name of Sitio Bajinay of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Bahaybahay;
7. Sitio Basac of Barrio Cornago and Sitio Tiguib of Barrio Cornago were formed as Barrio Cornago, and designated as the center of governance of the town of Sikatuna.
Meanwhile, on 13 June 1915, while waiting for the action of the Governor-General on the creation of the Proposed Town of Sikatuna, Miguel Oppus who already assumed higher office as Provincial Board Member, endorsed Clemente Lacea to run for the post of Municipal President (Mayor) of Alburquerque against the incumbent Julian Ugdoracion in the forthcoming general elections. This was allegedly advised by Miguel Oppus in order to eliminate Julian Ugdoracion’s opposition, and to attune Clemente Lacea to the rigors of a political office. And true to the proven political mettle of Miguel Oppus, his endorsement of Clemente Lacea, catapulted the latter to the much coveted seat of Municipal President of Alburquerque. Clemente Lacea’s assumption to the post on 15 January 1916 paved the way for the smooth realization of the dreamed Town of Sikatuna.
On 03 December 1916, came the much awaited communication from Governor – General Francis Burton Harrison to Atty. Jose A. Clarin who incidentally became a Senator of the Republic beginning 16 October 1916, requiring Senator Clarin to submit before 15 January 1917, the name of the Municipal Administrator and Deputy Administrator who will sit in the new Town of Sikatuna. Upon consultation with the people, Clemente Lacea was chosen as the Municipal Administrator, subject to relinquishment of his current post as Municipal President of Alburquerque as soon as the town charter of Sikatuna is signed into law. On the other hand, Aurelio Gasang was named as the unanimous choice for Deputy Municipal Administrator.
Finally, the Charter of the Town of Sikatuna was signed into law on 05 December 1917, by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, known as EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 88. The official copy of Executive Order No. 88, was formally read by Mayor Clemente Lacea in public at the Municipal Hall of Alburquerque, on 08 December 1917. And thereafter, Clemente Lacea tendered his irrevocable resignation as Municipal President of Alburquerque effective immediately, in compliance with his new appointment as the Municipal Administrator of the newly created town of Sikatuna, Bohol.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL
OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
MANILA, December 5, 1917}
EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 88}
WHEREAS, many of the inhabitants of the barrios of Cornago, Abucay, Libjo, Canagong, and Cambuac, municipality of Alburquerque, and the barrios of Badiang and Bahay-bahay, municipality of Balilihan, have petitioned that said barrios be separated from the municipalities of Alburquerque and Balilihan, Province of Bohol, and organized into an independent municipality;
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of section sixty-eight of the Revised Administrative Code, the thirty-four municipalities of the Province of Bohol as established by section thirty-eight of the said Administrative Code, are hereby increased to thirty-five by separating the barrios of Cornago, Abucay, Libjo, Canagong, and Cambuac, from the municipality of Alburquerque, and the barrios of Badiang and Bahaybahay, from the municipality of Balilihan, Province of Bohol, and organizing the same into an independent municipality, under the name of “Sikatuna.”
The municipality of Alburquerque shall consist of its present municipality less the territory comprised in the barrios of Cornago, Abucay, Libjo, Canagong, and Cambuac, and the municipality of Balilihan, shall consist of its present municipality less the territory comprised in the barrios of Badiang and Bahaybahay. The municipality of Sikatuna shall consist of the territory comprised in the barrios of Cornago, Abucay, Libjo, Canagong, Cambuac, Badiang, and Bahaybahay.
The seat of the municipal government of Sikatuna shall be in the barrio of Cornago.
The organization herein made shall take effect on January first, nineteen hundred and eighteen.
(Sgd) FRANCIS BURTON HARRISON
But sadly tho, Clemente Lacea’s invaluable contribution in our journey to townhood paid him only a one-year seat as the FIRST APPOINTED MUNICIPAL PRESIDENT beginning January 1, 1918. His political fate was cut short after losing to Aurelio Gasang in that historic first general elections that came in 1919 and made Aurelio Gasang as the FIRST ELECTED MUNICIPAL PRESIDENT of Sikatuna.
Hereunder are the duly elected mayors from 1919 til the present, to wit:
1919 – 1922 AURELIO GASANG
1922 – 1925 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1926 – 1928 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1929 – 1931 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1932 – 1934 FRANCISCO UNGAB
1935 – 1937 EMILIANO BACO
1938 – 1940 PONCIANO TOLEDO
1941 – 1942 LUCIO MAGHUYOP
1943 – 1945 GALICANO JASMIN (Guerilla Gov't)
--- PONCIANO TOLEDO (Japanese Puppet Gov't)
1946 – 1963 FIDEL ELLORIMO
1964 – 1980 TROADIO PATENIO
1980 – 1986 CAMILO PALGAN
1986 – 1998 CONSTANCIO RULE
1998 – 2007 TRANQUILINA MANIWANG
2007 – 2010 IRENEO CALIMPUSAN
2010 -- 2019 JOSE ELLORIMO JR.
Notably, the Japanese period saw Sikatuna with three (3) mayors. The first was LUCIO MAGHUYOP, who was duly elected in the 1941 election. However, towards the end of 1942, when the Japanese forces were already in Bohol, Lucio Maghuyop was arrested by the Guerillas on suspicion that he was a collaborator. He was detained in a place called “Behind The Clouds” located in the town of Batuan. In his stead, GALICANO JASMIN being the Vice-mayor then was installed by the guerillas, thereby making the latter as the second mayor. But not long after the installation of Galicano Jasmin, the Japanese forces occupied Sikatuna and established a garrison at the municipal building. And as part of establishing their command in the area, the Japanese also installed their own mayor in the person of PONCIANO TOLEDO who was already a three termer mayor of the town. In other words, Ponciano Toledo became the puppet mayor of the Japanese puppet government.
Through time, Sikatuna has evolved from its original seven (7) barrios to the present ten (10) component barrios/barangays, namely: 1) Poblacion Uno; 2) Poblacion Dos; 3) Bahay-bahay; 4) Badiang; 5) Cambuac Norte; 6) Cambuac Sur; 7) Libjo; 8) Abucay Sur; 9) Abucay Norte; and, 10) Can-agong.
Truly indeed, the moniker “Sa Ika To Na” describes the significance of the NUMBER THREE (3) in our journey to townhood. Firstly, the name Sikatuna is our third name after Cambojod and Cornago. Second, the original seven component barrios of Sikatuna were taken from the three (3) neighboring towns of Alburquerque, Balilihan, and Loboc. Third, the newly created town of Sikatuna sits in a political territory that was re-defined and changed by law for the third time. Fourthly, the newly created town of Sikatuna is our third mother-town after Albur and Baclayon. Fifthly, the proposal to create the town of Sikatuna out of Barrio Cornago passed thru the hands of three (3) Governor Generals beginning with James Francis Smith, William Cameron Forbes, then finally with Francis Burton Harrison who approved and signed Executive Order No. 88.
And finally, for whatever historical value it may be worth, It was said that the distinguished Miguel Oppus was quoted as saying that the future of Sikatuna lies in whatever good things there is in the number THREE (3) which has already manifested so much significance in our political journey.
Atty. NILO G. AHAT
29 November 2017