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From the time of its creation, reign of government changed from one hand to another. The first duly elected Mayor of Cotabato City was Datu Mando U. Sinsuat, Sr. who served for the following terms: 1947 to 1951 and from 1952 to November 16, 1967. His was the longest administration. He was defeated in his bidfor reelection in 1967 by Teodoro V. Juliano who served as City Mayor from November 17, 1967 to February 28, 1980. Again, Mayor Teodoro V. Juliano served. Again, Mayor Teodoro V. Juliano served from March 1, 1980 to March 5, 1984 and again from May 12, 1984 to March 19, 1986, the City’s leadership changed hands with the election of Mayor Juan J. Ty. The youngest Local Chief Executive to take the reign of governance so far to administer the city’s local government was Ludovico D. Badoy. He first served as Officer-In-Charge from March 30, 1986 to December 2, 1987. Mr. Arthur P. Bueno and Dr. Lydia Mercado were likewise appointed as Officers-in-Charge after Badoy and served for one (1) month and three (3) months, respectively. Mayor Badoy was officially elected as City Mayor during the elections in May 1988 up to 1992. With the passage of the Local Government Code 7160 in 1991, his third term ended in 1998. All these elected/appointed officials had significantly contributed to the city’s present state of development during their administration.
Historically, it could be said that settlement in Cotabato City became a pronounced phenomenon some five hundred years ago when Dipatwan Qudarat reigned. During this time, Cotabato City was the seat of power and it developed as the capital town of Mindanao in the 17th Century.
Generally, the city exhibited higher levels of growth both in terms of population and income as compared to the rural areas. Urbanization rate in Cotabato City were among the highest in the country, aside from Iligan City, as migrants from the countryside moved into the area for better employment opportunities. This has, as a result, added to the problems on housing and employment, and at the same time scaled down the rural area’s prospect for more production. This movement of people to the city is partly explained by the fact that urban residents have higher family income, the city has the center or urban life offers services and amenities which the rural folks hardly have access to. To check this widening gap between the city core and rural areas would require that planning for the next couple of years would have to focus more on rural development by providing basic social services and locating specialized services in identified nodal points for development.
Cotabato City remains as the biggest and fastest growing agglomeration in Central Mindanao. It continues to be the main “suction pump” of the region, pulling in many skilled and ambitious migrants who are pushed by poverty and low employment from the rural areas and secondary urban centers.
Internally, Cotabato City continues to become quite overcrowded in relation to the parts of the region; its density had grown over that of the surrounding ring of administrative units. But the city’s population is gravitating outwards, indicating a “nodal” core and fast developing suburbs. This outward population shift is generally the result of mixed and obsolescent land uses, overpopulation, traffic congestion and other related factors in the urban core.
In the hierarchy of settlements, Cotabato City is the regional government center for Region XII. Today, it is the seat of two administrative regions XII and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Its population has grown tremendously largely brought about by migrants drawn to the city satisfy their needs for education and other services and for economic opportunities.