The Municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto is situated at the mid-center of hinterlands of the entire north of the Province of Negros Occidental and was established as a Town only last February 09, 1983 and the creation was intended to consolidate the area into a separate and independent local government unit to counter the prevailing lawlessness and instability of the area which seemed neglected by their respective jurisdictional units. The establishing legislation was Batas Pambansa Bilang 336, authored by Pambansa Member Alfonso Garcia and Jose Varela, Jr. It acquired its name in honor of the late Vice-Governor Salvador Benedicto, who was part in setting the Revolutionary Government of Negros Island and Siquijor at the area (Igmaya-an) during the Japanese Aggression last World War II.
The composite jurisdiction of Don Salvador Benedicto was comprised of two (2) Barangays from Municipality of Murcia (Pandanon and Igmaya-an); three (3) Barangays from the City of San Carlos (Kumaliskis, Bunga and Pinowayan-Prosperidad); and two (2) Barangays from Municipality of Calatrava (Bagong Silang-Marcelo and Bago-Lalong). It is situated at a distance of 47 kilometers from the Provincial Capitol and lies at an average of 2, 495 feet above sea-level and has a municipal jurisdiction of 17, 056 hectares, composite of 67% public domain and only 33% alienable and disposable lands. It has a very cold temperature ranging from 16 to 27 degrees Celsius and coldest months are December, January and February.
Despite the immature status of this new found Town, it could not be imposed that its people were uncivilized considering some historical facts that could establish proof that civilization was already existent in the area, even during the early conquest of the Spaniards. This could be traced back that history has established that after the Island of Panay was sold, its inhabitants had migrated to its neighboring island and settled at an area in-between Mt. Mandalagan and Canla-on Volcano and this fact could be concretized that there was no other area in the entire region that huge mountains were significantly situated adjacent to each other, except the earlier-mentioned mountains. Civilization in the area was further confirmed upon wandering adventure of a certain Vicente Jagocoy, a civilized person from Municipio de Sum-ag (now Barangay Sum-ag in Bacolod City) who had aimlessly tracked upstream Bago River chancing to find a productive area for settlement. Upon days of aimless walking he chanced upon the settlement of Bukidnon in the area, led by their Chieftain called “Laki Umaylas” who had established fondness of this daring Adventure, resulting to his accommodation to admit the lowlander at their village and such fondness had developed into a more harmonious relation that the Chief had offered her daughter “Ka Kinay” to become the wife of Jagocoy, whom was given the highland name as “Tan Igum” the union of Tan Igum and Ka Kinay was blessed with 18 offsprings who were all female except for only son named “Alipio” whose only offspring left in the area established to be “Remedios Jagocoy Panganiban” of Barangay Bunga. The only proof that indeed Tan Igum had really existed was that he only died during the Spanish-American War and his remain were buried at the Baisan Cave near Lacson’s Ranch House, the only proof that these were really his remains because his name was inscribed at the opening of the cave that was made into his graveyard.
Now, transforming into the cyberage, it could be established that residency was dominantly Cebuano speaking comprising sixty percent (60%) and the rest Ilonggo and other dialects but their desire for cultural revival had opted to adopt the art of “KALI” otherwise known as Arnis or “Escrima” the traditional martial arts of the Filipino people since the 7th century, as it was designed for physical training, mental development and spiritual upliftment of the individual practitioner which relatively strengthens his moral value foundation, hence being highlighted annually by the celebration of the “KALI-KALIHAN HARVEST FESTIVAL” , where observance of various traditional and cultural activities can be achieved.
The political structure which started with the FOUNDER, Nehemias “Nene” G. de la Cruz, as the first appointed Municipal Mayor in 1983 had greatly faced the surmountable burden of effectively managing the municipal operations, considering that upon its founding, it has to function without any funds coming from the National nor the Local Government where it originally belonged, but the unwavering determination of the FOUNDER did not prevent him from doing the task designated to him, instead, he solicited funds from the people’s organizations and other non-government organizations, which the situation prevailed until 1986, when OIC Mayor Ricardo T. Arnaldo, Jr. had taken over during the Transitory Government of President Corazon C. Aquino and it was only in 1987 that it had availed its share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). When the FOUNDER re-assumed the position as the first elected Municipal Mayor in 1988, the Municipal Hall which had been constructed during the incumbency of Governor Alfredo L. Montelibano, Jr. in 1984 had been abandoned, the municipal operations were being conducted at the Town of Murcia because of the insurgency problem in the area, but despite that only keys were turned-over, this did not bother the very determined FOUNDER, as despite the barren structure of tables and chairs, the first elected officials proceeded with their inaugural session sitting on concrete floors, and this did start the resetting of the municipal operations at its executive halls. It was then, the period of simultaneously intensifying the fight against intense insurgency on one end and installation of basic services to the grassroots level on the other end. Every process enjoined with educating the people on the responsibilities of the legitimate government and likewise their responsibilities to the government that each and every citizen must adhere to. All hardships and burdens were well taken as administrative challenge in the nurturing, caring and proper upbringing of the infant and new-found town.
The FOUNDER, having been re-elected twice in 1992 and 1995 had fully consumed his 3-term limit as mandated by R.A. 7160, hence, settled only to support the candidacy of his wife, Cynthia “Bebing” J. de la Cruz in the 1998 elections, who was established as the 3rd Local Chief Executive of the Town, reacquired her mandate as LCE during the 2001 election but most significant of the Family achievement was the acquisition of mandate of their eldest son, Lawrence Marxlen, as the 5th Municipal Mayor of the Local Government Unit and presently the 4th Local Chief Executive of this Municipality elected last May 14, 2007, resulting to a more fast-tracked and effective local governance.
Today, the once infant and newfound Town had overwhelmingly surpassed every challenge it was put to be tested, considering that it had installed the rightful focus on its development brought about by the enactment of a 10-year master plan duly authorized by the Local Sanggunian, which clearly manifested where placements of residential, commercial, industrial, institutional including strategic agricultural & fishery development zones must be located. It was during the administration of Mayor Cynthia “Bebing” de la Cruz, where most significant and basic needs were realized, spearheaded by the full concreting of the national road from Bacolod City to the town proper and traversing further to the City of San Carlos. The rural electrification program had now focused on extending services to the barangays. This very untiring and fully dedicated lady Chief Executive registered in the local “Hall of Fame” as the 2nd Mayor to “Retire Undefeated” to be placed next to her predecessor, her husband, who was meted the first entry of that book. Significant likewise, was the achievement of the “Core Shelter Program” of the CIDSS of DSWD which is now being enjoyed by 50 families, who were initial recipients of the program and as earlier intended. The Program was implemented to two more Barangays with the main target that by the year 2010, all of the most needy and less-fortunate residents of the Town will be sheltered and provided with livelihoods that can alleviate their social standings. Various developments of farm-to-market roads had not only benefitted the farmers on the favorable prices of farm-products but contributed also to reduction of transport-cost which ultimately reduced the selling prices of basic commodities which were now made available to the different Barangays; Infrastructure programs were intensified, now extended not only to the barangays but includes major sitios and puroks which where provided with multi-purpose pavements that can be utilized as drying pavements, likewise on social/cultural activities and sports & youth development activities in the locality. Outreach programs in basic service extension are now regularly availed by the residents but only limited to the local capability including the support services of the Provincial Government which was realized only during the first term of Mayor Bebing; capability-building training/seminars were not left-out, best-intensified and providing support service for potential employment, the LGU had installed its Public Employment Service Office (PESO) which has direct linkage to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It was likewise very significant that the Lady Chief also cared for the children by her intensified of a total 25 now 33 daycare-centers in the entire Municipality, providing for all the compensations of the Daycare Workers each in every centers. Those who were not able to achieve formal educations were likewise extended services thru the implementation of the Non-formal Education Program, where dropouts and out of school youths were not recipients but includes adults and Senior Citizens who were most enthusiastic and grateful of the opportunity to be called at the stage to receive their most endeared certificates of completions that had been very elusive during their heydays. It was also monumental that once there were areas beyond reach by transport vehicle but now had established accessibilities by installation of bridges in Barangays Pinowayan and Purok Mangga/Locsin in Barangay Igmaya-an. Another landmark is a very peculiar P25 Million hanging bridge to Kinabong, a very potential food-basket of Barangay Igmaya-an, considering its vast naturally irrigated rice-lands. The most visible among improvements is the completion of the P6.5 Million Municipal Hall which features a Spanish Villa situated at the hills overseeing the lowlands and inaugurated last 2003 festivities despite a deficiency of fund requirements of P2.5 Million to fully complete the entire facility. Other implemented projects were the construction of a new PNP Building as this Office had never been provided since and only being accommodated to the building of the proposed Municipal Library; various repairs and construction of additional school buildings, construction of Barangay Bunga Public Market; Rehabilitation/Repairs of Water System at Barangay Bunga and Poblacion-Townsite, construction of additional Day Care Centers, Multi-purpose, Municipal Stage, Irrigation System at Brgy. Bunga and small piggery at the demo-farm of our Agriculture Office. We have also acquired a mobile sound system, Canopy Tent and the installation of our floor tiles in the Municipal Hall through the help of our beloved Governor Joseph G. Marañon.
The prevailing peace and order condition which had greatly materialized all of the foregoing developments was again put to a potent deterioration brought about by an intensified negative publicity of the “illegal logging” issue impairing the Local Administration in cohort with the RPA-ABB group, but it was later established that all of those negative issues were manipulation of an individual who had once signified his intent to grab the local administration but so unlucky enough for having not acquired the mandate, thus, positioning his retaliatory purpose which was adjudged by the people and constituents knew who had been truthful and sincere. It can be gleaned that the local governance did action more than words and did not even resort to publications, despite all the achievements that made the town now a tourist destination, considering that it gathered not only the title as the Cleanest and Greenest Municipality of Negros Occidental but more prestigious was the latest award as “The Most Beautiful Highway in the entire Region VI” and the entry was forwarded to the National Contest of DPWH. It was adjudged as the Most Beautiful Highway in the entire Philippines. All of these accomplishments developed to the FILIPINO PEOPLE from the “KALI COUNTRY” otherwise known as the “NENE DE LA CRUZ COUNTRY” To date, under the administration of Honorable Lawrence Marxlen J. Dela Cruz, the DSWD KALAHI-CIDSS: KBB Project funded by the World Bank has started implementing its Sub-Projects to Barangays Bagong Silang, Bago and Pinowayan with Five (5) Units Solay Dryer, Post Harvest Facilities composed of Stationary Rice Mill & Mechanical Dryer and Farm to Market Road respectively. Barangays Pandanon and Igmaya-an are the recipients of the same.
To gradually answer the call to providing skilled and potential workers in the Labor Industry particularly abroad, our dynamic Local Chief Executive accommodated the extension training in this Municipality conducted by the Technological University of the Philippines / Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TUP / TESDA) based in Talisay City. The desire and delight shown by the trainees has given our Mayor the surge to serve more, thus, the administration is currently processing the establishment of a TESDA Training Center in the locality.
Currently, numerous projects like Farm to Market Roads, Bridge, Pre and Post Harvest Facilities funded by the Local Government Unit, PDAF of 1st District Congressman Julio A. Ledesma, IV, Department of Agriculture and The World Bank thru Kalahi-CIDSS Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development are lined-up for inauguration this month.
Our Event’s Theme: “Kasanag sa Kabukiran, Kauswagan sang Salvadorians!” innately express the “delight” brought about by the complete energization to 7 Barangays of this culture-rich Municipality.