In 1939, four (4) Settlement Districts were created by the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) headed by the late General Paulino T. Santos. These districts were Marbel, Tupi, Polomolok and Lagao of Northern Koronadal, Middle Koronadal and Southern Koronadal, Cotabato respectively. Cotabato Province was not yet fragmented into provinces during those days. Each of these has one (1) town and barrios (Barangay) was necessary in order to spread out the population and new arrival of settlers so that the individual farmers should not be too far away from his farm land. The Lagao town was under the municipal district of Buayan under the deputy governor from Cotabato who assumed jurisdiction over the municipality of clan whose first appointed mayor was Datu Sarif Zainal Abedin. The town of Lagao was established on March 03,1939, five (5) days after the first batchers of settlers arrived from Manila via SS Basilan Compania Maritima. It lies 3.5 kilometers Northeast of Dadiangas, (Dadiangas was nameless at that time) the port of Koronadal, was the administration center of distribution of whole Koronadal project of NLSA. Hence, General Santos and his office in Lagao in number and other houses there were occupied by the employees of NLSA. The town of Lagao consisted initially three (3) barrios namely: first barrio, second barrio and third barrio (first barrio and third barrio were merged into one, now known as Lagao except second barrio which was separated, became another Barangay known as San Isidro).
Source – Pioneer Settlement in the Asiatic Tropics: Studies on Land Utilization and Agricultural Colonization in Southern Asia
By: Karl J. Pelzer
Research Work of Lagao Barangay Secretary, Mrs. Teodora Santos
Each Barrio was under the charge of Tenyente Del Barrio and an assistant Tenyente Del Barrio chosen by the NLSA manager overseer from the rank of the settlers on the basis of leadership, intelligence and industry.Lagao was chosen as the supply distribution and administration center for it is near Dadiangas which though not included in the settlement district, served as the landing point of settlers and goods and was the terminal of the National Highway between Sarangani Bay and Dulawan on the lower Cotabato River. The settlement of Lagao was started by the NLSA with Sixty-two (62) settlers and fourteen (14) employees. In 1941 Lagao’s settlers had increased from the initial sixty-two (62), who with six (6) dependents had landed on February 27, 1939 at Dadiangas to 582 with 1,709 dependents who were distributed over eight (8) barrios clustered around the new town of Lagao. In assertion, eighty five (85) employees with 135 dependents lived in the town. Within the span of two (2) years since the first arrival of settlers, the NLSA provided the community with large warehouse, stores (where settlers could avail credit) machine shop, farm machineries, trucks, motorcars, motorcycles, road grader, hospital, school, and electrical plant, thresher maize and rice mill.
On June 29, 1941, Bishop Luis Del Rosario of the Roman Catholic apostolic church came to Lagao District and established formally the erection of St. Peter and Paul Parish church with the assistance of the NLSA chief construction Engineer Leonardo Salazar. Thus, the Parish of Lagao district then, was the central town (Trading Center) of the whole of South Cotabato. But unfortunately, on December 9 of the same year.
But all the fruits of their sacrifices were razed into grounds when the Japanese invaders started their bombings all over the country. The Japanese Air Squadron bombed the municipal district. General Santos visited all the districts for the purpose of boosting their morale. He continued the campaign for food production to all settlement areas he created despite of the war. In April 1942, the Filipino-American forces surrendered to the Japanese imperial army and many of the settlers evacuated from Lagao. On August 1,1944, President Manuel L. Quezon died from tuberculosis at Saranak Lake, New York USA, 18 days before his birthday. So, President Jose P. Laurel took over the responsibility and General Paulino T. Santos was called to Malacanang for other task and never come back to his family in Lagao. He died on August 29,1945 and was buried that same day by his lone guard Sgt. Juan Ablan in a place chosen by him, General Paulino T. Santos. (After the war, his remains were transferred to Camiling, Tarlac and in September 1991, thru courtesy of the Aguman ng Kapangpangan was transferred again and buried right at the base of his life-sized statue at General Santos City. Garcia Park in which the City was named after him.)
In 1947, 9.3 hectares of land was bought by Father Francis McSorley wherein the concrete Sts. Peter and Paul church and Notre Dame of Lagao for boys and girls presently stand and were developed gradually since its establishment in 1948.
In 1957, Buayan District became a full pledge Municipality (General Santos City now) under the Mayor ship of Irineo Santiago, the former Buayan. Since then, waves of achievements in Lagao and other developments outside the barrio were noticeable. Sometime in 1940-1941, Mr. Felicito Balayo Sr., an official photographer and confidential man of NLSA was appointed by General Paulino T. Santos, Sr. as the first barrio lieutenant to administer the area of Lagao (1st,2nd, and 3rd barrio). The Barrio lieutenant did not encounter many problems because the area was generally peaceful and irrigation canals were dug up to make Lagao self-sufficient.
In 1942-1957, Mr. Constancio Letigio was appointed barrio lieutenant then General manager of NLSA (General Santos) replacing Mr. Balayo. During his reign as barrio lieutenant, they collaborated with the Japanese so they can exist normally and were able to build roads and other infrastructure projects, other projects of administration were church and chapel. In the absence of the school buildings, they also used the chapel as a place for instructions to school children.
In 1957-1967, Mr. Leoncio Alburo was elected to office by the people of Lagao as barrio lieutenant replacing Mr. Constacio Letigio. Meanwhile, the municipality of Buayan then was handed by a new elected official, Mayor Pedro Acharon, the successor of Mayor Irineo Santiago. Mr. Alburo’s achievements on that ten (10) years term were among was a lot donated by him which a concrete Barangay Hall with uncovered court and Puericulture Center Stands.
In 1967, local election in the Barangay level was conducted and Mr. Leodegario Arradaza won and became the first man to be called Barangay Captain of Lagao with seven (7) Barangay Councilmen. Mr. Antonio C. Acharon then was also the first city Mayor of General Santos, who in one way or another assisted Barangay C aptain Arradaza in his infrastructure and livelihood projects. Squatters from Bula were also resettled in Pag-asa (also Purok 8) The barangay secretary Treasurer then was Minardo K. Avila, Sr.
In 1972, election for Barangay Captain and Councilmen all over the country was conducted. Mr. Minardo K. Avila Sr., former Barangay Secretary-Treasurer of Lagao won the position of Barangay Captain. Barangay Captain Avila was elected for two (2) terms and held the position up to 1989. During his administration in the barangay, his achievements were the completion of the Barangay Hall and Auditorium, erection of the General Santos National Trade School, Catolico Elementary School, Balite Elementary School, Dadiangas Heights Elementary School and several Day Care Centers and the most vital important one was the completion of the TB Pavillion Hospital (District road, the Lagao Public Market and the completion of Sts. Peter and Paul church’s bell tower.
In the barangay election of March 1989, many political parties sprouted in the barangay who eventually filed their candidacy for the barangay posts and whoever will be the top notcher in the election will be a Barangay Captain and the first six (6) will be councilmen as mandated by law.
Fortunately, Mr. Minardo A. Avila Jr., son of the ex-barangay captain garnered the highest vote and so, he headed the Barangay of Lagao up to this point in time. Eventually, the Public market of Lagao is under renovation which is supported by the administration of Mayor Adelbert W. Antonino. Although, its area was reduced to 1,413.36 hectares because of separation of 492.63 hectares for Barangay City Heights, it does not affect well the source of income of the locality. The biggest department store and warehouse plaza of General Santos City is situated in the jurisdiction of Lagao. Today, the development projects of other barangay of the city of General Santos City is getting stronger and popular like the big “ALAGAO” trees where the name of the barrio was copied 53 years ago.
NAME: Barangay Lagao
DATE ESTABLISHED: March 3,1939
CLASSIFICATION: Highly Urbanized
ADDRESS: Tiongson Street, Lagao, GSC
EMAIL ADD.: email@example.com
CLIMATE: Sunny and Rainy
OFFICER-IN-CHARGE: Rolito R. Blando, Sr.
NO. OF EMPLOYEES: 167 pax