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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alimodian During the Forty Years of American Rule

Governor General Francis Burton Harrison, governor-general of the Philippines 

 American High Officials in the Philippines During The American Occupation


When the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898, many Filipinos felt that they were cheated by the Americans. The American behavior toward the Filipinos was the behavior of the conqueror. They had no intention of leaving the country. They showed that they meant to stay and be masters, the successors of the Spaniards. This marked the beginning of Filipino disillusionment with the Americans.

Meanwhile there was no instruction to invade Iloilo. The Iloilo patriots under Martin Delgado decided to fight. To prevent enemies from capturing the city, Delgado ordered his men to burn it. The Americans landed in force and on February 20, Jaro fell, followed by Sta. Barbara, Oton and Mandurriao.

Then the Filipino leaders surrendered to Commander Vacker and they were made to take their oath of allegiance to United States.

The Coming of the Americans

In Alimodian the coming of the Americans was not felt very much as the towns nearer the city were already occupied. This marked the start of American occupation of the islands. Although the Philippines was under the American rule, still there were many tragedies that befell her.

September 1900 was another tragedy-infested year in the history of the town. Starting on the 8th day of the month, cholera took its toll on the residents. Deaths reminiscent of the plague of 1882 occurred. The official death count was placed at 700 but this did not include those in the barrios.

A strange thing happened at about the same time cholera was raging in Alimodian. In Iloilo City, several people were arrested for possession of bottles containing poison. Some residents ventured to say that the numerous deaths of September were not entirely due to cholera. Some of them were due to some inexplicable reasons.

Start of Public School System

One of the greatest achievements of the Americans in the Philippines was the introduction of the public school system. After the mock battle of Manila, schools were established. American teachers were brought to the Philippines aboard the USS Thomas, hence the first American teachers were called Thomasites.

In 1902 an American teacher, Wilford Nichols came to Alimodian to teach the English language. Those who could read and write Spanish were made to attend schools first so that they could in turn teach the other citizens of the town to read and write in English. 

Chosen to be the principal teacher was Mr. Justo Puga and the first three teachers were Mrs. Felicidad Alingasa Sta. Cruz, Mrs. Venancia Sta. Cruz Edurese and Mrs. Concepcion Alfante Akol.

This was the beginning of the public school system in Alimodian. 

From then on the people began to realize the importance of education.

In the executive branch of the government, the president Municipal at that time, 1902 to 1904, was Leonardo Libo-on. His vice was Catalino Alisla and his councilors were Sixto Tabiana, Silvestre Amargo and Ciriaco Amarillo.

In 1903 President Leonardo Libo-on died and Don Catalino Alisla, who was his vice-president, became acting president of our town until it was fused with the Municipality of Leon.

Fusion of Alimodian and San Miguel

In January 1904 an important legislation was passed by the provincial government. It ruled that small towns be incorporated under the jurisdiction of larger ones. Thus, Alimodian and San Miguel that were much smaller municipalities were placed under Leon, a much larger town. Head towns in such arrangement were called “cabeceras” or capital towns. Subordinate towns like Alimodian and San Miguel were called “arabales” or territorial colonies.

Enacted on April 4, 1903

By the authority of the U.S. it was enacted by the Philippines Commission that 51 municipalities of Iloilo be reduced to 17. The Municipality of Leon shall come to its present territory and that of Alimodian and San Miguel with the seat of the government at the Municipality of Leon. This shall take effect on its passage.
Due to the change in the territorial set up, a new set of officials were installed into office. The president was Evaristo Capalla from Leon and the vice president was Gelacio Tabiana from Leon. Concejal Inspector was Solomon Algallar from Alimodian.
From 1906 to 1907 Alimodian was still under Leon and the president was Gelacio Tabiana of Leon; vice president, Tomas Algallar, Alimodian; councilors, Catalino Alisla, Ciriaco Amarillo, Ambrocio Amaguin, Luis Tabiana, Leon.

In 1908 to 1909 the president was Nicolas Cambronero of Leon; vice president, Sixto Tabiana and councilors were Tomas Algallar, Ciriaco Amarillo, Ambrocio Amaguin and Ramon Libo-on, secretary was Gregorio Alvior.

On May 22, 1910 a zarzuela entitled “Filipinas” was presented at the town plaza. The zarzuela was penned by Gregorio Alvior with music by Paulino Altura.

On June 4, 1912 an election was held to choose the municipal officials, governor and representative to the Philippine Assembly. This election was significant because it revoked the earlier ruling that fixed Election Day on the first Tuesday of November. Among those elected were Adriano Hernandez, governor and Ernesto Gustilo, diputado in Assemblea Filipina for the third district.

Starting January 1, 1916, San Miguel was given the status of an independent municipality when the order making her an arabal under Leon was lifted. Alimodian was not so lucky at that time, as Alimodian was not separated from Leon.

In the election of June 1916, the post of presidente and most of the concejales went to Alimodian candidates. In January 1917 the Leon candidates, finding it hard to admit that they were defeated by those in a subordinate town, filed a letter of protest with the Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Iloilo. The judge upheld the validity of the votes of the people and restored the power of the elected officials.
The case was elevated to the Supreme Court. Still the highest court of the land sided with the Alimodiananons.

In June 1917 the provincial governor suspended from office Presidente Gregorio Alvior because of a case filed against him by the president of the newly independent municipality of San Miguel, Damiano Saclauso. Saclauso alleged that Alvior barred the patadiong weavers from Alimodian from selling their woven materials in San Miguel every market day. Vice President Cajilig temporarily assumed the position of president.

On July 7, 1917 an investigative body led by Provincial Governor Gregorio Yulo came to look into the Saclauso complaint. Yulo came together with Tercer Vocal and three attorneys, Don Ruperto Montinola, Don Jose Locsin and Don Cresenciano Lozano. After an exhaustive investigation of witnesses, power and office were resotred to the suspended Alimodian president.

Alimodian Separated from Leon with Alvior as First President

At the end of Christmas day 1918, Governor Yulo returned to Alimodian but with good news this time. He had with him Executive Order No. 45 signed by Governor General Francis Burton Harrison and confirmed by the Provincial Board, that ordered the separation of Alimodian from Leon effective the 31st of the month. Alimodian would then be elevated from mere arrabal to a full-fledged municipality.

Alimodian Central School 1960s

* Fusion of Alimodian, Leon and San Miguel. Enacted on April 4, 1903.

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