Lingig was once a barangay of Hinatuan. In 1920, Congressman Tiongco filed a bill to create Lingig as a separate municipality. The bill was approved, and on December 20, 1920, Executive Order No. 65 was passed making it a separate municipality.
On March 21, 1921, Lingig was formally inaugurated as a municipality. The first appointed Municipal president was Quirico M. Verano, with the term of one year.
The Municipality of Lingig lies at the southern tip of Surigao del Sur facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Bislig, on the south by Boston, Davao Oriental and on the west by the Municipality of Trento, Agusan del Sur.
During the Spanish regime in the Philippines, Lingig was a barrio under the Municipality of Hinatuan, then considered as the richest town of the province because of its hemp industry, copra production, timberland and bountiful fish supply. The presence of rich natural resources such as gold and other minerals and its vast track of land had attracted many people from other places to settle in the area.
Originally, the place was sparsely populated by tribesmen, the Manobo and the Mamanwa known as “Negritos of the Mountain”, as reported by several Spanish missionaries serving in Surigao and other places in Mindanao, including other foreign researchers. The Mamanwas were known in those days than the Manobos, probably because of their distinct characteristics and way of life.
These tribesmen lived in the coastal areas and river banks of Lingig and its neighboring areas where they got their livelihood through hunting, fishing and other simple means.
ARRIVAL OF MIGRANTS
When the new migrants from the southern back door arrived in Mindanao, some of the newcomers composed of Indonesians, Papuans and Malays drifted to Lingig, Bislig, Hinatuan and other places of in the present day Surigao del Sur. According to historian Fernando A. Almeda Jr. in his book “Surigao Across The Years”, these newcomers “were aggressive, land grabbers and warlike”. They intruded and occupied the lands of the tribesmen and established their settlement there, driving out the Negritos to the interior parts of the mountains.
At least two missionaries, Fr. Combes and Fr. Pedro Chirino in their reports of the conflict between the Mamanwa and the Indo-Malay settlers claimed that the presence of the migrants had created intense hatred between the two races, resulting to some clashes and death from both sides. This was also corroborated by John Garban, the first American teacher in Tandag who worked on the Mamanwa tribe in 1921.
In his report, Fr. Chirino said that the Aborigines reacted savagely to the pressure from Malay settlers and because of the intense hatred, the tribesmen fought the settlers with the use of bow and arrow, their most effective weapon for hunting and fighting.
Accordingly, the tribesmen had devised a more effective weapon than the ordinary knives or bolos for fighting. Their arrows were deadly when applied with venom. The poisonous matters they would apply were extracted from a species of strychnor tree from a shrub called dalimas (croton tiglium) mixed with crushed black ants. To use this, they smeared venomous matter over the arrow head.
Garban observed that this poisonous preparation was so lethal that it would kill frog in only seven minutes, monkey from five to ten minutes and wild in 15 to 30 minutes.
The original arrow known as bagakay and anibong was made out of matured bamboo stalks, while the bow was made of palm wood or bamboo.
LEGEND OF LINGIG
At the height of the Spanish domination in the country, the place like other areas in Surigao del Sur, had been included in the list of those which would undergo survey on the number of inhabitants in the entire country.
Thus, one day, a group of Spaniards landed in Lingig. They were sent there by the Spanish Governor-General to take a census of all inhabitants. At that time, Lingig had still no official name as it was only a small community very far from other settlement like Bislig.
While the group members were roaming in the coastal area on the way to the settlement, they spotted a native sharpening a saw. They approached the man and one of them asked, “Como se llama este lugar?” (what is the name of this place?). the man who could not understand Spanish though the visitor was asking what he was doing since the latter was pointing to the saw. “Lingig, Señor,” replied the man. Lingig is the dialect for sharpening the teeth of a saw.
So, the Spaniard noted down the name. Henceforth, the place was known as Lingig, an apt description of a name which had been adopted officially up to this day.
As years went by, the occupation of the settlers in Lingig had resulted to intermarriage between some tamer members of the tribal groups like the Manobo and some members of the settlers and other migrants who reached the area to look for greener pasture.
Retired Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Ebrencio V. Indoyon Sr. in his historical insight of Lingig during the American regime has provided additional information on intermarriage. He wrote:’few settlers from Visayas and Luzon mingled and intermarried with the dominant native families such as the Consuegras, Onsings, Marcelos, Peñanuevas, Adlawans, Linazas and delos Santos.”
The present settler families that make up the town’s elite in education, business, bureaucracy and social milieu are the Veranos, Indoyons, Abelgas, Villarins, Flores, Lindos, Motas, Balbuenas, Tantoys, etc. plus few emerging in business success as; Aninos, Jimmy Luna, Zamoras, and Lims” the report continued. Eventually, the settlement expanded with the increase of population.
When Lingig was under Hinatuan, people of this southern barrio experienced difficulty in traveling to the central town. They felt the distance from Hinatuan was a great sacrifice for the town folks, especially those who had important transactions in town such as getting business permit, cedula and other matters.
In the absence of road, the people had to walk several miles from Lingig to Hinatuan on human trails, passing through the jungle, or navigating on small boat at the sea which could be very dangerous during bad weather. The problem had to be remedied. So, one day a group of active leaders in the community convened and discussed the possibility of creating Lingig into a separate municipality. With this idea considered, the founding leaders, Jose Marcelo, Quirico Verano and Gerardo Verano worked out for the realization of their plan.
The group headed by Jose Marcelo then prepared all papers with the help of a temporary secretary, former Senator Felisberto Verano who was at that time, on vacation from his studies at Siliman University. During this period, Verano had also been appointed by Governor Pedro Coleto of Surigao as the governor of the Non-Christian tribe in the province.
CREATION OF THE MUNICIPALITY
In no time, the application they submitted to the concerned authorities in Surigao was channeled to Congressman Tiongco who then filed a bill in Congress, seeking to create Lingig into a municipality. Then on December 20, 1920, Governor-General Leonard Wood issued Executive Order No. 65, making Lingig as a separate municipality. Three months after, on March 22, 1921 Lingig was formally separated from Hinatuan in an appropriate ceremony attended by newly appointed officials and political leaders of the mother town. Installed into office as the first appointed Municipal President was Quirico M. Verano, one of the founders.
During the early days of running the administration, local officials were faced by the problem of funding. To keep the municipal machinery functioning well, businessman Gerardo Verano, then a recognized haciendero who ventured in copra business, volunteered to help the new administration. He supported it by increasing the value of his property so that he could help boost of the income of the local government. He also shouldered the salary of policemen and he continued to assist the administration until it had fully stabilized the financial condition.
Municipal President Verano managed to run the administration smoothly until election was declared the following year, 1923. At this time, despite the proddings of some of his followers, he did not seek for reelection but instead supported another community leader, Silvestre Marcelo, for the elected post of Municipal president.
In later years, when some American officials learned that the place was one of those found to have big deposit of gold, some mining prospectors started exploring the hinterlands of Lingig. Lingig then was part of the areas within the boundaries of the Mineral Reservation declared in 1939 by the Presidential Proclamation No. 391.
Before the Second World War, an American miner who discovered Lingig rich in gold, established the “Surigao Colorado Mines”, the first mining outfit located at Sitio Haguimitan, Barangay Anibongan. The operation however was soon stopped for unknown reason.
After the Second World War, another mining outfit was set up in Lingig, this time a partnership venture between an American, Frederick Webber and Mr. Gerardo M. Verano, a native of the area.
When the operation started, more and more people from the northern part of Surigao like Cortes and Bayabas started flocking to the area to apply for work. With the flow of migrants, the population of Lingig swelled as some workers chose to remain in the area even after the outfit stopped operation two years later.
When the Second World War broke out in 1941, Lingig was one of the places in the then undivided Surigao penetrated by the Japanese imperial army. As a result, the inhabitants left their town and evacuated to the hills. The Japanese soldiers had established a garrison in the house of Vicente Sim Sr. located along the seaside.
The Japanese stayed only for three months from August to October 1944 and they left the place for the battle of Leyte. The guerillas reigned supreme before and after the Japanese left. The guerilla groups that defended Lingig during the war were the Alamag Force of Captain Teodulfo Villarin and the Division Special Troop of Lieutenant Jose C. Viajar, of whom most recruit came from Lingig.
After the war, Lingig political leaders started reestablishing the dismantled administrative machinery. They handpicked from among the group of community leaders whom they installed into power and based on the national mandate, they changed the pre-war name of Municipal President into Municipal Mayor for the man they chose to lead the administration.
Henceforth, the position of Municipal Mayor had been occupied by different local leaders since the Philippines was given independence by the Americans on July 4, 1946.
The first appointed Municipal Mayor after liberation was Inocencio S. Peñanueva who served as town chief executive from 1946 to 1947. During the first election conducted the following year, Florencio R. Onsing replaced Peñanueva. His term extended from 1947 to 1950. Upon his death, he was succeeded by Acting Mayor Orquita who served office for one year. In the election of 1952, Orquita ran against Ex-Mayor Peñanueva and won. Three years after, he sought for reelection and he was again reelected, extending his term from 1956 to 1959.
Jose C. Marcelo, one of the founders of Lingig was third Municipal Mayor when he was elected in 1960 to 1963. Next to Mayor Marcelo was Arsenio Egay who held office from 1964 to 1967 as the fourth elected Municipal Mayor after liberation, in 1968 another leader Engracio M. Linaza took the reign of the Municipal Administration. His term lasted for 18 years from 1968 to 1986 when President Corazon Aquino unseated strongman, President Ferdinand E. Marcos during EDSA Revolution. In the election of 1988, Linaza who ran again for the top post, was dethroned by then youthful military oriented candidate, Amerosin V. Onsing. Mayor Onsing served as Lingig town executive for the terms from 1986 to 1987 as Officer-in-Charge after the EDSA Revolution an as elected Municipal Mayor from 1988 to 1998.
The other event of interest which involved the Municipality of Lingig, Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental was about the political boundary conflict. The row was sparked by Mayor Onsing’s report to the DENR Mines Regional Office in Davao City. In his report, the Mayor questioned the legality of the permit issued by Davao Oriental Governor Rosalinda Lopez to the small scale miners who conducted mining operations on the barangays claimed to be within the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Lingig.
The conflict had escalated into a raging controversy between the Province of Surigao del Sur represented by Provincial Officials headed by Governor Primo T. Murillo, Vice Governor Jesus Magno and Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Tito Cañedo and Davao Oriental represented by Governor Rosalinda Lopez and party. Both provinces claimed ownership of some areas south of Lingig. Also joining the squabble was PICOP which claimed the Road 5M, Sitio Tamsian, Barangay Pagtilaan where the miners operated in the vicinity was inside the PICOP Timber License Agreement (TLA) No. 43.
After a long and tedious process of resolving the issue the two provinces had agreed a “Hating Kapatid Scheme” in which almost 3,000 hectares where given to the Province of Davao Oriental.