Tuesday, 21 October 2014
At a Glance - Introduction Print E-mail
Article Index
General Info
ZDN Hymn
List of Past Governors


A. The Moro Province*

MAJOR GEN. LEONARD WOOD.  He became the American Governor-General of the Philippines from 1921 - 1927.

(1906 - 1909 )

 *Republic Act No. 787 issued on June 1, 1903 under the Insular
Government created the Moro Province, encompassing the
whole of Mindanao with Zamboanga as the capital.



BRIG. GEN. JOHN “BLACK JACK” PERSHING.  He was a famous swashbuckling military officer, who made a name for his successful but bloody pacification campaign against the Moros.  In 1916, he led a U.S. Army unit that defeated the forces of the popular Mexican Pancho Villa during the U.S.-Mexican War.   During World War I, in 1917, he headed the American Expeditionary Forces to France, and conducted its operations with great success.  Because of his superb military record, he was made General of the U.S. Army, the highest rank ever attained by an American military officer.

B.  The Province of Zamboanga


LUIS G. LIM. The first civilian appointed governor of Zamboanga Province.  He was the brother of Antonio Lim, the father of Justice Roseller T. Lim, the author of R.A. 711 creating the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.

1917-1922; 1928-1931
AGUSTIN L. ALVAREZ.  He was the second civilian appointed governor of the Province of Zamboanga in 1917-1922.  In 1928-1931, he was the elected Governor.  He was again appointed governor of the province during the Japanese occupation.  He was also appointed governor of the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao and Sulu.  He was also appointed Mayor of Davao and Zamboanga, and appointed assemblyman for Mindanao and Sulu’s first district from 1931 to 1934.  Governor Alvarez was one of the early Filipino pensionados to the United States to study public administration.  Governor  Alvarez was a lawyer and a journalist.

FLORENTINO A. SAGUIN.  He was the first elected governor of Zamboanga Province, 1922-1925.  Born in Dapitan on October 16, 1890 to Exequil Saguin and Pilar Adaza , he finished his law studies as a scholar in Ateneo de Manila.  He was a top legal practitioner during his time.  He got elected as delegate to the 1934 Constitutional Convention representing the whole Zamboanga province.  He was appointed Judge at Large for Davao in 1940.  During the Japanese Occupation, he was the Military Governor and Director for Civil Affairs for the provinces of Zamboanga and Misamis Occidental.  And because of his honesty, President Quezon placed under his charge the Emergency Currency Committee for Mindanao, which printed the so-called “Saguin Money”.  In 1944 he was fetched by a plane on orders of President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. and brought to Papua New Guinea in preparation for Mc Arthur’s landing in Leyte.  In 1965, he capped his colourful public service as Justice of the Court of Appeals.

JOSE D. ASENIERO.  He succeeded his townmate, Governor Saguin, as Governor-elect of Zamboanga Province in 1925-1928.  Born to Agapito “Pitong” Aseniero and Margarita “Itang” Dalman, Aseniero was described as the “star pupil” of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, always a shining example in class with his various exemplary activities in and out of the classroom.  He was a “cut above the rest”, so to speak, for he was there when the hero needed him.  Aseniero was among the four students of Rizal in Dapitan whom he took to Manila to study.  During Rizal’s incarceration in Fort Santiago, Aseniero managed to visit him towards the end of November 1896.  In December 29, 1896, on the eve of Rizal’s execution, Rizal told Aseniero to retrieve something from the alcohol lamp and give it to one of his sisters.  It turned out to be Rizal’s classic  “Mi Ultimo Adios” written in Spanish.  Aseniero’s career in government started when he was hired as interpreter after his release from prison in Iligan by the Americans in 1897.  Then he was appointed customs inspector, and later joined the BIR.  At one time he was an escribiente of the court.  Having served the classified civil service under General John J. Pershing, he was appointed President Municipal of Dapitan in the newly organized Department of Mindanao and Sulu.  He built the Dapitan-Dipolog road by cutting through the rocky hills of Larayan, and opened Puluan wharf.  In 1918, he was appointed Municipal District President of Lubugan (now Katipunan) by Governor Frank Carpenter and worked for its conversion into a regular municipality.  After serving as provincial governor, he returned to Dapitan to till the soil and attend to the education of his children.

CARLOS H. CAMINS, SR.  He was elected governor of the Province of Zamboanga in 1931.  His father was a member of the Spanish Navy Unit stationed in Zamboanga.  His mother was a Portuguese descent.  He was educated in Manila became a journalist, publisher and editor of various Spanish language newspapers, three of which were El Fenix, La Antorcha and El Sur.  During his term as governor he developed the Cebuano Barracks, now the seat of the municipality of Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur.

FELIPE L. RAMOS.  A politician to the core, who had no college degree but survived all odds to become presidente municipal of Zamboanga, and then governor of the Zamboanga Province.  He won all hi political battles with his famous, “Yo cuidao”.

MATIAS C. RANILLO.  He served as Governor of the Province of Zamboanga for two terms, elected in 1937, and re-elected in 1940.  A true – blooded Dipolognon, he was born on February 24, 1898 in the town of Dipolog to Primo Ranillo and Laureana R. Castillon.  Governor Ranillo was a consistent scholar during his high school days in Ateneo de Manila.  He proceeded to study Law at Manila Law College, and was the only graduate who passed the Bar Examinations given in 1926.  A year after, he was appointed Municipal Judge of Basilan.  After his second-term as governor, he was elected Congressman on November 11, 1941.  During his stint at the House of Congress, he was chosen to chair the prestigious House Committee on Provincial and Municipal Governments.  In his capacity as Supreme Head of Guerilla Movement in Mindanao, he was appointed Military Governor by Brigadier General Wendell W. Fertig on December 23, 1942.  As military Governor, he ordered the clearing of the area where Dipolog Airport is situated at present, to be used as landing field of the American Liberation Forces.  Among his projects as Governor were the construction of the following:  Dipolog – Sicayab Access Road, and Zamboanga – Misamis Occidental Road.

1941-1945; 1948-1945
1952-1955; 1964-1965
FELIPE B. AZCUNA. Governor Azcuna was considered a political superstar during his time. He continues to be the pride of Katipunan until now, his birthplace.  Articulate and very talented, he graduated from his law studies as the class valedictorian, and went on to bag fourth place in the 1937 Bar Examinations, an honor shared by his son, Adolf Azcuna, when he took the Bar Examinations.  Cut out for a political Career, he started at a very young age of 28 when he got elected Provincial Board Member.  He got elected governor of Zamboanga province elections held in 1940, 1948 and 1951.  When Zamboanga Province was divided into 2 provinces, Governor Azcuna who was then Governor of the whole Zamboanga, was appointed Governor of the newly created province Zamboanga del Norte by President Elpidio Quirino.  This was followed by another stint as governor in 1964-1965,  In 1969, he was elected Congressman, representing the lone district of Zamboanga del Norte until the House of Congress was abolished in 1972 when Martial Law was declared by then President Marcos.

LEONCIO S. HAMOY.   Leoncio Sagario Hamoy was the second son of Mariano Balsomo Hamoy and Pilar Acaylar Sagario of Dapitan.  His early education was spent on a Parochial School in Dapitan.  Then he went to Ateneo del Manila for higher studies where he was a consistent honor student, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  He entered the University of Philippines for his law studies, completed it in 1922 and passed the Bar that same year, 5th place.  Afterwhich, he went back to Dapitan and practiced Law.  During the Japanese occupation, he was appointed Provincial Fiscal of Zamboanga Province.  In 1946, he was appointed by President Osmeña as Governor of Zamboaga.  However, after Osmeña lost to Roxas in the first postwar general elections, he resigned and returned home to Dapitan.  He helped organized Chapter of the Order of the Knights of Rizal, and Piñan Agro-Industrial Coconut Cooperative, Inc., early realizing the value of cooperativism.  He was also a prime mover in the organization of the Community Rural Bank of Dapitan, and together with close associates inspired the conversion of Dapitan town to a city.

SERAPIO J. DATOC.  Atty. Datoc of Pagadian City was appointed by President Quirino as Governor of Zamboaga Province after Governor Azcuna filed his certificate of candidacy ofr congressman in 1949.  He was the first governor to come from the southern part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Province.  He served twice as governor, first for Zamboaga Province, and later as the first Chief Executive of the newly-created Province of Zamboanga del Sur.  In both occasions, he held the positions in an appointive capacity.  He did not win in any election, perhaps due to his handicap with the Cebuano dialect.  He had done a lot of follow-up work for the creation of Zamboanga del Sur.  As Governor of the newly created Province of Zamboanga del Sur, Governor Datoc was able to set up its provincial government and managed its affairs practically from scratch.

ROMULO G. GARROVILLO.  He as born in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on February 8, 1941 to Cipriano Garrovillo and Carmen Garganera.  He was married to Luna Macahilig Centuranza with whom they had eight (8) children.  He graduated his elementary in Dipolog Elementary School in 1927 as Valedictorian, finished his secondary education at Silliman Universityin 1940 and passed the Bar Examinations in the same year.  He was elected Provincial Board member of the province of Zamboanga in 1946 to 1949 and elected Provincial Governor of the province of Zamboanga del Norte in 1956 to 1959.  in 1960, he was appointed Technical Assistant  to the Office of the  President of the Philippines, and later  appointed City Fiscal of  Dapitan City in  1967 until he retired in 1979.

1955; 1960-1963
GUADALUPE C. ADAZA.  The eldest of the ten children of Leoncio Cadavedo Adaza and Maria Dalman Carreon, she started to manifest the attributes of a leader when as a young student of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), she strongly lobbied before the legislative the retention of Jose Rizal Memorial Hospital in Dapitan.  She was a role model to many Filipino women of her time when she became the first Filipina applying for homesteads in the Moroland.  She started her political career when she ran for the third member of the Provincial Board in 1937 and won.  She held the position for 2 terms becoming the first woman board member.  She was then catapulted to the governorship when President Ramon Magsaysay appointed her Governor in 1955 after Governor Azcuna was suspended for 3 months, becoming the first woman governor of the country, and of the province.  In the 1959 election she was elected Vice-Governor.  And by a twist of fate she assumed office as Provincial Governor in 1960, when Governor-elect Alberto Q. Ubay, chose to continue serving the province as Congressman.  To this day Governor Guadalupe C. Adaza remains the one and only lady governor the Province of Zamboanga del Norte ever had

VIRGINIO B. LACAYA.  Governor Lacaya or Ver to family, close friends and associates, spent 20 years of his adult life serving the people of the Province of Zamboanga del Norte in various capacities – 1 year as Barrio Lieutenant of Poblacion Dipolog in 1958; 4 years as Mayor of Dipolog starting in 1959; 2 years as Vice-Governor (1963-1964), and 15 years as Provincial Governor starting in 1965 when he assumed the position by succession.  Born to an industrious couple, Felipe Belarmino Lacaya and Magdalena Zorilla Barbaso of Barangay Guinles, Polanco, he finished pre-law studies at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, and attended and completed Law proper at M.L.Q. University in Manila in 1956.  He passed the Bar a year after.  He had endeared himself to the barrio folk because of his amiable, approachable, almost meek and unassuming self.  Hence, when he ran for Governor in 1967 against a strongly fortified political opponent, he won by a wide margin. Throughout his service in government, he had implemented a number of infrastructure projects.  He retired from politics on March 3, 1980 because of glaucoma, and devoted his time to his family, managing his farm, and served as consultant and/or adviser to barangay councils, and to the Association of the Welfare of Disabled Persons in the province.

ALBERTO Q. UBAY.  A native of Merida Leyte, Alberto Q. Ubay was Governor, Congressman and Jurist in all his years of service in government.  His quest for education was no bed of roses, so to speak.  He was a selfmade man finishing, his elementary studies in Pilar Cebu, his high school and pre-law studies at Silliman University in Dumaguete, and earned his degree in Law from the Philippines Law School in Manila.  He graduated in 1935 and passed the Bar in that same year.  He served 16 years (1953-1969) in the House of Congress.  In 1959, he was elected Governor of Zamboanga del Norte but opted to continue his term in Congress, hence, Vice-Governor elect Guadalupe Adaza assumed his position as Governor.  While in Congress, he was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for 8 consecutive years, for which he was cited as one of the Most Outstanding Congressmen during his term of office.  His dedication to government service did not go unnoticed.  On November 12, 1980, the City Government of Dapitan presented him the Award of Distinction “in recognition of his dynamic, and  tested leadership, uncorruptible honestly’.  The Integrated bar of the Philippines, Caloocan Chapter awarded him as the most Outstanding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas, Metro Manila in 1980.  In 1981, Silliman University conferred to him the Silliman Award in the Field of Public Service “in recognition of his sterling qualities as Governor, Congressman, and Jurist, and for his long dedicated public service characterized by numerous contributions to the commonweal”.

ROLDAN B. DALMAN.  He is the grandson of Jose C. Dalman, one of Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s pupils during his exile in Dapitan and founder of the municipality of Ponot, and the son of former Municipal Mayor Iniego G. Dalmanand Luz F. Bilog of Katipunan.  Atty. Dalman excelled in all his academic pursuits.  He graduated Valedictorian both in the elementary and high school, Magna Cum Laude in Bachelor of Arts in Silliman University in Dumaguete City and Second Honors in his post graduate studies at Ateneo de Manila College of Law and 6th placer in 1975 Bar Examinations.  He served as research attorney, regional legal officer and practicing lawyer until he joined politics and was elected Vice-Governor of Zamboanga del Norte in 1988.  In 1995, he was elected Governor of the province.  During his term he introduced a micro-lending program called Provincial Sustainable Development Program (PSDP) aimed at providing loan assistance to cooperatives in the province.  Between 1999 and the early part of year 2001, he served the government as Presidential Assistant for Northwestern Mindanao.

1986-1995; 1998-2003
ISAGANI S. AMATONG.  He is the youngest son of Amado Borja Amatong, an educator, and Felicidad M. Sybico, a businesswoman.  A freedom fighter, who along with family members and close associates in the law profession never sulked from fighting the Marcos dictatorship.  He was “pirated’, so to speak, by then President Corazon C. Aquino from the City Council of Dipolog, to serve as Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Governor of Zamboanga del Norte immediately after the EDSA Revolution in 1986.  As Governor then and now, he presides over the affairs of the province with solid grounding in law and economics.  He is a hands-on manager, pro-active, innovator, and firm believer in local autonomy and in the Constitutional maxim, “Public Office is a public trust’.  In 1995, he was recognized by the Philippine Graphic Magazines as one of the ten (10) Outstanding Governors in the country for his successful intervention in completing the asphalting of a total of 236.55 kilometers of national highway connecting Calamba, Misamis Occidental, thru the cities of Dapitan and Dipolog – Zamboanga del Norte, up to Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay Province (formerly Zamboanga del Sur).  Under his leadership, the province made giant leaps.  Among the province’s latest achievements were the Best LGU Award for landmark programs in social welfare and development, the Presidential Award for Excellence in the fight against illegal drugs; and the Kabalikat 2000 Award from TESDA.  Before assuming public office, he was an academician, practicing counsel, law associate, management consultant, financial comptroller, hospital administrator and publisher.

ROLANDO ENRIQUEZ YEBES. Action springs not from thought but from readiness for responsibility”. For a decade and a half he has been serving the government with all dedication, sincerity and honesty. Atty. Yebes, or Lando to his friends and family, is steering the province's local governance after being elected to the position in the year 2004. Armed with dreams and aspirations of bringing ZaNorte to greater heights, Lando faces the challenges of time as Chief Executive of Zamboanga del Norte, or ZaNorte in short, with ardour and strong determination.  Enormous as they may be, Lando confronts the demands of time with competence and selfless motivation as he was being honed by his bemedalled experience and unquestioned educational background. Having his early education at Miputak Elementary School and at Saint Vincent's College for his secondary education, Lando earned his degrees in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Laws, with flying colors, at the University of San Jose Recoletos. After being admitted to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Lando started to build his career at the Bureau of Customs as a Private of the National Customs Police. His efforts to become a good customs employee did not become fruitless as he was able to conduct major operations which earned him awards. After years of service with commendable accomplishments, he became District (Regional) Collector of Customs in the ports of the cities of Batangas, Davao, Manila, Zamboanga, Cebu and the last was in Iloilo and Pulupandan until his retirement in 2003.  Being a true bloodied public servant, the once District Collector did not end his service at the Bureau of Customs; instead, he ventured into a more noble profession by becoming ZaNorte's provincial governor. Being pushed by his desire of helping a huge number of his provincemates in getting out from the bondage of poverty, Lando had drawn an eight-point development agenda, giving utmost concern to the people's utmost needs. After assuming as governor, he instituted several programs. Lando brought Tabang ni Lando sa Comunidad (TLC) even to the remotest barangays of ZaNorte. This program brought basic social services right to the doorsteps of every ZaNortean. He also launched the Indigent Mapping Program (IMP) to identify residents who are most deserving of government's care and service. He also promoted income generating projects and programs to provide additional income to marginalized families. His effort to extend basic services to the people also include the improvement of hospital facilities and infrastructure. Thus, Atty. Yebes embarks the distinct feat of building a modern 300-bed capacity hospital, not withstanding his being a first timer.  Even as a neophyte, his leadership has been recognized in other provinces in the region; thus, he was installed Chairman of the Regional Development Council for Western Mindanao and Chairman of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) for Western Mindanao Region. Unmindful of the risks and threats to his own life, Lando crisscrosses ZaNorte to provide ZaNorteans with a peaceful environment. His laudable efforts paid off. The Philippine National Police (PNP) conferred on him the Zamboanga Peninsula Provincial Local Chief Executive Award for the year 2004 and again for the year 2005.  The efforts pave the way to making ZaNorte one of the Tourists' favorite destinations in Mindanao as well as a growing investors' haven in the islands.  These, and a lot more, are in store for the people of ZaNorte, as Gov. Lando Yebes continues to serve with selfless motivation with his slogan: “UNA SA TANAN ANG KATAWHAN”.