HISTORY OF THE CITY
Misamis was an old town which originated as far back as the Spanish Era and was conquered strangely not by force of arms but through faith by some Jesuit Missionaries. The origin of the name “Misamis” is believed to have been derived from the Subano word “Kuyamis” which is a variety of sweet coconut that thrived in the area. During the years, the name persisted as an inference of geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers, the word “Kuyamis” easily gave way to the m ore conveniently pronounceable but corrupted word “Misamis”.
In 1757, heightened by the piratical raids in the coastal towns of the archipelago, Misamis was chosen as the principal anchorage in Mindanao by the Spanish conquestadores. Because of its strategic location, Jesuit Father Jose Ducos built a stone fort of “Cotta” or fortress which took many years to complete and still stands today. It served as the main bastion of a big Spanish task force against the Muslim s and the Portuguese. This fort becam e the nucleus of the town of Misamis which subsequently became an ecclesiastical center of northern Mindanao. Its patron saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. With the town and fort established at Misamis, the seat of the Military Government was transferred from Iligan to Misamis.
The Jesuits maintained a strong fleet under the flagship “Triunfo”. They called the bastion “Triunfo” and the image of Our Lady, as Nuestra Senora del Triunfo dela Cruz” . The Recollect Fathers undertook the spiritual ministration of Misamis in 1769.
In 1850, the town of Misamis became the capital of the District of Misamis, then composed of the present provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Camiguin. After the Filipino-American War, the Americans established a civil government in Misamis on May 15, 1901.
In 1912, the Philippine Independent Church gained a foothold although the Catholic missionaries had been established earlier in the province. In 1920, when many settlers from Bohol and Cebu arrived in Mindanao, the town of Misamis became a trading center.
Legislative Act No. 3537 passed on November 2, 1929 divided the old province of Misamis into Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.
The Occidental comprised the towns of Baliangao, Lopez Jaena, Tudela, Clarin, Plaridel, Oroquieta, Aloran, Jimenez, and Misamis . Misamis was
a municipality when Tangub City was created out of its (Misamis’) area in 1929.
In a bloody battle at the outbreak of World War II, the Japanese troops encountered the Filipino soldiers under the command of Major Lucas Naranjo in Baga. On May 18, 1943, the Women’s Auxiliary Service led by Josefa Borromeo Capistrano was organized. The unit was composed of courageous women of Misamis Occidental who assisted the Tenth Military District under Colonel Wendell W. Fertig.
During the Japanese occupation of Misamis in World War II (1943 – 1945), the “Cotta” was garrisoned by a contingent of Japanese who dug fox holes near or under the walls. This underm ining of walls later led to the destruction of the Southwest bastion in the earthquake of 1955.
On June 19, 1948, by virtue of Republic Act No. 321, the town of Misamis was created into a chartered city. It was named Ozamiz City in honor of the late Senator Jose Ozam iz, a legislator who became a hero of World War Two. While the original title of the House Bill 1656 was “An Act Creating the City of Misamis”, it was breached during the discussions of the Comm ittee on Chartered Cities, to change the name Misamis to Ozamiz to honor Senator Jose Ozam iz who provided underground resistance activities in Misamis Occidental against Japanese Colonialists and was imprisoned at Fort Santiago and finally executed at La Loma Cemetery together with Filipino patriots. From the original nine (9) municipalities of the province of Misamis Occidental emanated the present three cities of Ozamiz, Oroquieta and Tangub and the fourteen (14) m unicipalities of Aloran, Baliangao, Bonifacio, Calam ba, Clarin, Concepcion, Don Victoriano, Jimenez, Lopez Jaena, Panaon, PLaridel, Sapang Dalaga, Sinacaban and Tudela with a total of 490 barangays.
During the first three years of the existence of the city, the plan for its developm ent was towards Malaubang. The First City Planning Board worked out the corresponding developm ent plan of the city with the set of the government by the side of Bukagan Hill. The poblacion area was
considerably expanded with the development of swamp area called Misamis Annex. The Las Aguadas area was developed. On the west, the Bernad Playground was put-up with the corresponding construction of the Grandstand into the city bided for the holding of the 1st Mindanao Meet in 1952. This playground was subsequently the site again of another Mindanao Meet in 1960 and the following years, the National Interscholastic Meet and in 1970 the PRISAA Meet. The Municipal Board zonified the poblacion and tried to relocate commercial, industrial, recreational establishments in certain designated places. The city gradually progressed its development towards Malaubang but however with the donation of a City Hall site at Catadman by the heirs of Don Ramon Bernad, the development of the city shifted northward towards Catadman-Manabay area with construction of a new City Hall on the new site.
Some of the historical features of the city are the collection of Chinese vases and jars dating back to the pre-Spanish period, which are mostly owned by the Subanon, an indigenous people (IP) inhabiting the Malindang mountain ranges; the four giant German bells (said to warn
the soldiers at the “cotta”, of the com ing of m arauding pirates at the Panguil Bay, by the chimes that can be heard for miles) and a watch tower at Bukagan Hill; and the pipe organ at the Cathedral of Ozam iz City described as the “largest and finest in the country”.
Ozamiz has gone a long way from an old Spanish settlement to its present enviable economic position in the region. It is now emerging as the one of the fastest growing cities in Northwestern Mindanao. The transportation of Ozamiz City took a rapid pace after a very large fire that leveled its commercial business district on March 1977. Modern and concrete structures replaced the wooden buildings. As a result of the conflagration, the proliferation of comm ercial banks attested to accelerated economic activities. Foreign investors started to show
interest on the city’s economic potentials.
Among the major developments that strengthen its role as growth center of Panguil Bay Sub – Region were the putting of the basic infrastructures that give the needed boast that its different sectors of the economy lacks. The volume of trade and commerce in the recent years
has increase and is being favored by the adequate transportation facilities. The opening of the Oroquieta – Molave Road, a Kuwait Grant
Project is an asphalt concrete highway that provides easy access from North to South Bound Commuters. What has transpired most are the Cagayan de Oro – Ozam iz – Dipolog Route, Ozamiz – Kapatagan Route which has been realized through the operation of the two competing barge companies plying across Panguil Bay from the Port of Ozamiz to Mucas Port in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte. The massive concreting of major thoroughfares with street lighting providing the transport services for a better conveyance of the riding public. It is complemented with the on – going improvement of the seaport facilities and the expansion of the Labo Airport makes the city a major m odal transshipm ent port of Mindanao.
The newly operated Integrated Bus / Jeepney Terminal and Public Market, a USAID grant has spurred economic activities of the city.
Modern Shopping Malls flourished offering wide range of local and im ported products at reasonable prices. The proliferation of commercial
banks from a less than ten before the sixties to more than twenty just recently is indicative of a progressive city.
The 1990s has been significant years not only for Ozamiz City but for the entire Philippines Government Bureaucracy. There was a radical change in the system of government through the passage of Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Pursuant to the decentralization thrust of government and on the interest of restructuring the bureaucracy’s organizational set – up and functional set – up to make it viable in terms of economic efficiency and effectiveness m aking it more responsiv e to the needs of its public
clientele. During that year City Council m andated the committee on Perform ance Evaluation and Reorganization to effect a new
Reorganizational Structure and Staffing pattern for the City. This effected the devolution of three national government agencies ,
Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development and four new mandatory office were created namely City Accountant’s Office, General Services Office, Local Civil Registrar’s Office and City Veterinary Office.
Rural Development was never left behind. Farm – to – market roads has been concreted stretching towards the remotest barangays allowing the access for agricultural products to marketing channels. The development of water supply system at Poliken Spring is a full utilization
of a natural water supply catering to households of sixteen barangays who in their lifetime has never been served with potable water.
With the im plementation of the Agrarian Reform Community Development Program ( ARCDP ), a World Bank funded Project in the late 90’s, the city became a recipient of the different rural infrastructure projects particularly im provement / rehabilitation of farm to market roads leading to two selected Agrarian Reform Community ( ARC ). Construction of potable Water Supply Systems that caters to remote barangays and construction of Communal Irrigation Systems at Kinuman Norte that benefited more farming households.
The advent of cellular networks and land lines with digital direct dialing offers great advantage to the business sector and provide attraction to investors. Aside from the established reliable 220 volts power, the lowest electricity rates in the region, the reservoirs of MOWD which provides quality water for agriculture, industry and domestic use. The existing sources of Cocok Spring and Talikbasan Spring is augmented by the Molicay Pumping Station, having the capacity of 6,480,000 liters / day serving mostly the urban barangays.
Year 2000 marked the adoption of a new Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the implementation of Ordinance No. 847, the Ozamiz City Zoning Ordinance. This is a tool that sets the direction of development of the city in the next ten years. Thi s official public document is the policy guide to decisions regarding the physical development of the city.
The early years of the new m illennium was the start of the BAG –ONG OZAMIZ NON Administration. This is a popular slogan that
connotes a goal of a peaceful progressive community with an enriched culture where constituents are proud to be Ozam iznon. It is during this term that a Ten Point Agenda was set towards a com mon vision where the priority programs of the administration revolves. Dynamic reforms were introduced. Political will in the im plementation of the various programs and proj ects becomes the foundation that guides the city’ s development in the various sectors.
On the Social Services Sector, it is noteworthy to mention that it is the first ever to launch a scholarship program, the BAG – ONG
OZAMIZNON SCHLORSHIP PROGRAM in 2003 serving poor and deserving students who could not afford tertiary education and the
program is sustained up to the present. The adm inistration also shines in the promotion of good health and proper sanitation. It holds record as the Regional Green Banner Awardee for 3 consecutive years.
During this tim e, the role of the environment plays in community development was given high importance and catapulted the city into third
place in the Gawad Pangulo sa Kapaligiran in contrast to its being perennial last placer and first in the regional level to embarked on the formulation of the Ten Year Solid Waste Management Plan to continually improve the ever increasing problem of waste management of the city. This was realized with the timely financial assistance and technical support of the Netherlands Embassy through CARE Phils. and Misamis Univ ersity Community Extension Program ( MUCEP ). In support to its program of Solid Waste Management Plan, a Material Recovery Facility, the Bioreactor was established producing compost out of the institutional waste. The coastal and marine ecosystem has been given due attraction. The efforts on Mangrove Reforestation can be seen and beautifully grown mangrove trees at the designated marine protected areas at Pulot and Maningcol.
Moreover, a resettlement site was established at the city acquired lot at Barangay Bongbong providing housing and settlement facilities for
the hom eless poor especially those displaced by the development projects. The realization of the project was in collaboration with the GAWAD KALINGA Community Development Foundation, Inc. and other NGOs, Civic Society Group and private individuals.
Among the significant highlights of the accomplishments are the successful implem entation of 1 LGU im plemental Community Upland Irrigation Project in the entire country and the completion of a modern mechanized slaughter house, a show window for class AA abattoir in Region 10 & Zamboanga provinces. To enhance agricultural productivity, m ajor farm to market roads were made passable all year round. Extension of Input Loan Assistance from Local funds to farmers who have completed the season Long Farmer’s Filed & School had contributed to the increase in productivity of corn, the second staple food of the city.
Another significant accomplishment during this tim e is the procurement of brand new construction support facility / heavy
equipment s which ranges from motor grade, vibratory compactor, wheel loader to 4 units 6 cu.m. dump truck and 1 unit 3 cu.m. dump truck out of
loan from the Local Government Finance and Development (LOGOFIND ) from the Department of Finance this has caused the
gravelling of more rural barangays roads especially with the opening of the LGU owned quarry site in 2004 at Barangay Pantaon including the fabrication / installation of vibrating screen for quarry m aterials. It was also in this year that the City Hall ground im provement was im plemented and the construction of the Bag – ong Ozam iznon Day Care Center at the back of the ABC Legislative Building catering particularly to preschoolers of government employees. During the later part of 2005 and 1 quarter of 2006 in preparation of the grand celebration of the 250 year of the El Fuerte Dela Conception del Triunfo was seen the extensive development of periphery of Fort Santiago. This started with the relocation of squatters along the vicinity of Cotta, and the demolition of the market tiendas along the area giving way to the Cotta Square. The Cotta Shrine Park Development, Brick-Ground Improvement, the
Installation of Colorful Electrical Post, Restoration of Cotta Gate, Construction of Cotta Museum & Stage and the Restoration /
Rehabilitation of Seawall were very remarkable. Coupled with these infrastructures were the series of activities through the month of July which also coincide with the Charter Anniversary of the city which boasted its tourism industry. This momentous event was highlighted by the hosting of the “ PASUNDAYAG SA NORTHERN MINDANAO” which was in collaboration with the Department of Tourism ’s program known as
WOW PHILIPPINES. This was reported to have substantially increase the number of tourist arrivals both local and international. This historical
event paved the way in the creation of small businesses, this increased local investments and job opportunities which simultaneously augment the local income.
On October 16, 2006, the rehabilitation of public market has officially started its construction works. This facility caters to the needs
of the transacting public for a clean, presentable, accessible and strategically located establishment that provides the customers and
service providers the opportunity to act together and do business. The building known as the “Ozamiz City Public Mall“ is a two-storey building, the biggest sub-project under the M indanao Basic Urban Services Sector (MBUSSP), with a total project cost of Php 161.079 million, was
inaugurated last January 6, 2009 by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who personally unveiled the public marker of the mall. The public mall officially opened for its form al operation on May 28, 2009 by the local government unit of Ozamiz City. Director Loreto T. Bhagwani of DILG-10, who graced the occasion as the invited Guest of Honor and Honorary Speaker, said that the “Ozamiz City Public Mall is not only a testim ony to a futuristic vision of the LCE and SP “ but also a constant and visible reminder that when our local officials are united and put their efforts together, the cries and needs of the clients, are satisfactorily served well. He further labelled the Public Mall as a “Building of Love and sym bol of Unity” among the LCE and the SP of
For a decade, maj or im provements for the full development of the commercial seaport were introduced. Four additional berthing spaces were constructed from 6 berthing spaces in 2002 and 10 berthing spaces in 2008. Also, the effective berth length was increased from 479 meters and 548 meters in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Moreover, numerous activities were undertaken for the completion, improvement and construction of the backup area, open storage, access area, parking area, passenger term inal, PPA building and perimeter fence. During the first quarter of 2010, the Seaport of Ozam iz City has reclaimed an area of 400 square meters to augment its capacity in handling smooth, safe and easy berthing of vessels and thus, making the port as the major destination point of the transport industry which serves as the economic linkage of goods and services to five provinces and caters to passengers as far as Zamboanga and Cotabato.
With the reopening of the Ozam iz Airport in 2007 to comm ercial flights additional traffic is expected from other parts of the region. As a gateway to Western Mindanao the city has served as a transient haven from all sorts of commuters availing of various transport modes and center of trade and commerce, educational and social endeavors including tourism. With all these development activities taking place and to address the demand for urban expansion, a proposed reclamation area along the port coastal periphery is being planned and initially has been started with the provision of road embankm ent funded out of the Misamis Occidental 2 District Congressional F unds and then as a SONA project of the President funded by DPWH Central Office costing
Php. 600 m illion. This would eventually function as the proposed Ozamiz City Coastal Bypass Road with a length of 6.10 kilometers as a support transport infrastructures aimed at complementing the envisioned development plans in the coastal area as well as improve the urban traffic flos and ease congestion and traffic movem ents by passing the city proper. A feasibility study report has been completed for the opening of diversion road known as the “OCCIBAL” or the Ozam iz City – Clarin Interior Bypass Airport Link and related access roads totaling 5.80 kilometers as direct access to Ozam iz City Airport that would bypass the urban center. The related access roads will provide the city’s urban conurbation a direct link to the airport.
All of these efforts are translated into development as evidenced by the fast growing urbanization and physical transformation of Ozam iz City compared to the previous years. Nevertheless, the gains and achievements of the City in the present has become a reality due to the people who worked and dedicated their services in the past and present generation.
Today, it is strongly pursuing its development programs towards achieving its vision for sustainable growth and com mitting its resources to respond to the needs of its constituents.