Friday, November 23, 2007


The town of Tukuran is situated in the isthmus of Zamboanga peninsula of its southern part. Its original inhabitants were Subanuns and Iranuns. Tukuran is derived from the word tukod meaning to build or to construct.

Tukuran before EDSA revolution has long historical background. During Spanish period an excerpt from the Treaty of Sultan Kudarat of Maguindanao and King Philip IV of Spain signed on June 24, 1645 proves that the place used to be vassalage of the Sultan of Maguindanao. Islam was the dominant religion of the land. There was no king to rule, nor exists a single law that signifies the rights and duties of the subjects. Each datu considers himself as the most outstanding and powerful chieftain of the place and yet he has no more loyal subjects than his relatives and slaves. According to Thomas Forrest on 1780 Tukuran is a place where Iranuns lived in, built and repair prahus. There were several services conducted by Spaniards in the isthmus of Tukuran because of its strategic place for Spanish stronghold and to shorten communication in the north of Pangil Bay to south of Illana Bay. On March 12, 1890 a fortified station named after the member of the royal family fort Alfonso XII locally known as fort Militar was built to stop the Moro from the slave raiding activities against the Subanu people, to Christians and to facilitate their pacification on Mindanao campaign of colonization in general. Governor General Valeriano Weyler proposed the construction of a canal across the isthmus however the plan did not realize.

During American period, the Moro was forced to abandon the place by the appearance of American soldiers on October 15, 1900 and the place was occupied. There was a Moro resistance on the hill of Tagulo, a sitio of Tukuran and was pacified. In 1912, the set of the government was established in Tukuran as a military district, and a municipal district in 1918 with the population of 3,921. Due to the piratical raids, the people transferred the set of the government to Labangan in 1921. The resettlement program started the American colonial period. Settlers began to arrive before and after the resettlement program of the government in some barrios and sitios of Labangan where Tukuran became a part. As a reasult of the heavy influx of the settlers from Luzon and Visayas the existing balance of the population among the indigenous Moro, Lumads and Christians underwent serious changes. In Luy-a and Camanga, subanuns receded from their habitat and the Iranun Muslims gradually transferred to Labangan. During the early days of resettlement, English was the lingua franca. Through the advent of the homeseekers, fiesta was celebrated in 1938 and the Patron Saint was San Isidro (Patron St. of San Carlos). Wildlife such as wild pigs, wild deer, monkeys, and hornbill were found in the remotest newly settled places of Tukuran. In the sea, fish was very much abundant at the depth of 1 ½ meter tulingan, a yellow finned tuna is found. Together with these settlers were their customs and traditions.

Before the coming of the Japanese troops in Tukuran, Moro from Kalibaw, Karumatan (municipality of Sultan Naga Dimapuro) used to raid Tukuran. With this marauding activity, the soldier attention was divided. The beach (front and shell depot) played an important role as a landing site of series of landing of ammunitions from Australia to supply the Guerilla Movement in Mindanao. The first contact with the Americans was on March 5, 1943 when the US submarine Tambor ducked in Tukuran with supplies. On board the submarine were Charles M. Smith and Commodore Charles Parson. These American officers informed Australia about the location of Tukuran as a good ducking site. In the morning of January 25, 1945 at about 11:00 a US sea plane Sta. Catalina landed at the beach to unload supplies. During liberation period, American planes in V-formation fly in the sky. Displaced Tukuranons returned home and started to fix their abandoned home and start to live in peace. School was reopened and many of the sons and daughters of the Tukuranons attend the class in higher age. Because of the increasing people allure by the abundance of the Tukuran’s sea filled with tuna and the continuous repatriation of the displaced Tukuranons during the war the population had increased into its considerable size. Mayor Filomino Villamero, the mayor of the town of Labangan considered the idea of making Tukuran a municipality by virtue of Executive Order 323 signed by his Excellency Carlos P. Garcia on November 29, 1958. Tukuran became a municipality. During early 1960’s many Tukuranons had experienced the abundance of the sea. Some of the family especially the taga-baybay , coastline dwellers found fortune in the fishing industry. Curvada was the trading center of Tukuran during this time. Lab-asiros (fish traders) have usually experienced difficulty in transporting the tuna to Curvada due to the sticky mud in going to Tukuran proper. This decade was considered by Tukuranons as the dawn of the fishing industry of the town.

1970’s was characterized by military instability and natural calamities that affected the peoples socio-economic activities. The great fire in poblacion on January 21, 1971 caused two million pesos of the properties put to ashes including 140 houses and stores were burned. The Barracuda-Ilaga conflict was triggered when the vice-mayor of Karumatan was assassinated by an Ilaga known for its anti-muslim sentiments. The total Diaspora of the people had taken place after the July 26, 1973 incident in shell depot. The wound that the Barracuda – Ilaga conflict could have started to heal but on the evening of August 17, 1976 tsunami hit Illana bay.

A series of related incidents on PA and CPP-NPA struggles in Tukuran during 1980’s. This was because of the Marcos dictatorship, communist movement spread in the whole archipelago in an aim to change to routine style of the government. In this decade most of the barangay people fled or were forced and obliged to seek refuge in concentration camps and schools to protect them from the cross fire of two raging forces.

After EDSA revolution, Isaias Barrido was appointed as municipal mayor as part of the reorganization program of Aquino’s government. He was a former forest ranger at a Baclay nursery, a reforestation project of the national government. The first challenge to his administration occurred on October 24, 1986 due to the intense operation of PA against CPP-NPA. A mistarget landed in Curvada rice field. Hundreds could have been killed if it landed in the public market.

In 1988, the new government of Corazon Aquino held in the entire Philippines a local election. Bonifacio Vega ran for public office and won the election. He was a very active leader in terms of civic and socio-economic programs of the government. During his first term, its was characterized as the height of CPP-NPA and PA struggle. In Tagulo incident, there were seven killed in the side of the government. PA strongly believes that it was done by the CPP-NPA. Because of the struggle of two raging forces, his administration adopted, through the advice of the military, the policy of hamleting as a result farmers suffered. The military had estimated 80% of the business sectors were influenced by the rebels. Some of the suspected members of the CPP-NPA were arrested. The mayor had a hard time solving the main problem of his municipality.

In 1992 election, Vega won for the second time. He knew that he will meet the same problem in the office. But dramatically the horror of CPP-NPA and PA struggle slowly faded and gone due to the implementation of various projects both socio-economic and socio-cultural made the thinking of the MASA that the present administration did not turn his back to the oppressed people. In the 1995 election was advancing, Vega planned to run but he had undergone operation. Instead he affixed his support to Isaias Barrido for he found him competent in running the municipality under the banner of Lakas-NUCD.

Isaias Barrido won the election he was an energetic and a dynamic leader. Municipal concreting was one of his main program. By the advent of IRA the barangays comprising the municipality were provided with increased shares of the financial resources of the government with the aim of enhancing the delivery of basic services to the people for the second time he was elected. Livelihood program was his main focus. Because of IRA many projects were commenced by his administration. He continued the construction of municipal streets, hanging bridge, solar drier, water reservoir, basketball courts, and farm to market roads to fasten the development of rural barangays. The municipal streets and other newly constructed infrastructures under the Barrido administration has changed greatly the profile of the municipality.

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