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COTABATO CITY is “a city of rivers and islets”, that is sui generis, distinct from other cities. It is at the delta between two rivers, Tamontaka and Rio Grande de Mindanao, a major commercial artery in the heartland of Mindanao. The city iscris-crossed by creeks and rivers which are the source of both agricultural/industrial and domestic water requirements for some rural barangays. Two areas, the P.C. Hill and Timako Hill are considered elevated areas. The name “Cotabato”, the ancient capital town of Mindanao was derived from two Maguindanaon words, KUTA meaning fortress and WATO for stone. It became a chartered city on June 20, 1959 when then President Carlos P. Garcia signed into law Republic Act No. 2364, authored by then Representative Salipada K. Pendatun. Under the said charter the city is politically subdivided into five (5) barangays. But in 1989, thirty-two (32) barangays were segregated from the original five barangays. Economic activity is anchored on trading from basic commodities to industrial raw materials to agriculture and aquaculture products the city being at the heart of bustling Central Mindanao Region. The city is the hub of commercial and business activity this part of the region and is the major transshipping point of both marine and agriculture products owing to its strategic location. Major source of income is derived from taxes, fees and licenses on businesses, commercial establishments.
Transportation system in and around the city is catered to by Public Utility Jeeps (PUJs) traversing main thoroughfares and secondary streets although the latter is also being serviced by motorized pedicabs. Interior areas going towards subdivisions and other residential areas are served by manual pedicabs. The Cotabato Awang Airport can accommodate planes up to B-737 class. The Polloc Port services inter-island vessels of Aboitiz Shipping, William Lines and Sulpicio Lines to and from Cotabato, Zamboanga, Ilo-ilo and Manila. The local wharf in the city is home to motor lanches servicing the coastal towns of Sultan Kudarat Province, Lanao Del Sur and Going as far as Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur. For utilities, power is handled by a private firm, Cotabato Light and Power Co. who gets power resources from the NPC. Water system is handled by Cotabato City Water District which is a quasi-government institution. Water sources come from natural spring in Dimapatoy, Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipality and deep well from Rebuken, Sultan Kudarat Municipality. Dialect spoken is predominantly Tagalog with typical Cotabato, Illonggo, Ilocano and the regional dialects Maguindanaon, Maranao and the presence of Tausug dialects were brought about mainly by the regionalization of Mindanao.
On September 19, 2001 Executive Order 36 or known as the Reorganization of Administrative Regions in Mindanao was issued by the President comprising forty-five (45) municipalities, with four (4) provinces namely: North Cotabato, Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat; and five (5) cities namely: Cotabato City, General Santos City, Kidapawan City, Koronadal City and Tacurong City as now the newly reconstituted Region 12.With the new setup in Region XII, Executive Order 304, series of 2004 was subsequently issued designating Koronadal City as the new Regional Center and seat of SOCCCSKSARGEN, effective March 30, 2004.
All these years, the Local Chief Executives of the City held their offices at the old City Hall but with the political resolve of Mayor Muslimin G. Sema to transfer the seat of power to a more auspicious and comfortable location, he facilitated the construction of the present City Hall (which is now popularly known as Peoples’ Palace) at the 4-hectare City Government property at Malagapas, Barangay Rosary Heights 10. It was inaugurated on June 20, 2006 in time for the celebration of the 47th Araw ng Kutabato.