FROM SITIO TO BARRIO
In 1886, Papaya was changed into ‘Muñoz’ to honor Don Francisco Muñoz, the province’s alcalde mayor, and the community’s first appointed gobernadorcillo. Muñoz was annexed as a barrio of San Juan de Guimba municipality. Settlers trickled in from Bulacan and the Ilocos Region. In 1911, Factoria (now San Isidro town), the provincial capital, was totally flooded. Muñoz was then considered a possible new capital of the province.
At about the same time, the people of Barrios Muñoz and San Antonio, also in San Juan de Guimba town, and Palusapis in Sto. Domingo municipality, together with Sitios Kabisukulan, Rang-ayan, Mataas na Lupa, Siniguelas, Purok Agrikultura, and Pulong Maragul in Talavera town, were organizing themselves to be separated from their three respective municipalities to become a new independent municipality. They were prepared to construct a municipal hall and a school building for the emerging town.
FROM BARRIO TO TOWN
Upon recommendation of the Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija, then headed by Governor Isauro Gabaldon, and with approval of then Acting Governor General Newton Gilbert, the organized barrios and sitios were granted independence as a regular municipality on January 10, 1913 under the name of Muñoz. The seat of the fledgling municipal government was positioned in erstwhile Barrio Muñoz. Thus, the municipality of Muñoz was born, and steadily grew to become today an Agricultural Science City in-the-making.
Muñoz owes a tremendous lot to its early leaders Tranquilino Delos Santos, and other homesteaders Luis Ramos, Ambrosio Medina, Cayetano Caisip, Victorino Pornuevo, and Precy Hill Delos Santos. A municipal hall, a church building, and a small public market were erected in Lumang Bayan (now Poblacion North). A road linking the young Muñoz town with the national highway from Barangay Bacal, Talavera was also constructed.
Muñoz continued to attract more settlers. More barrios were established and were named after their peoples’ ideals and aspirations, landmarks, and personalities such as Rang-ayan (prosperity), Linglingay (recreation), Mangandingay (company), Magtanggol (defense), and Villa Isla (in a leader’s honor).
Muñoz was not spared from the pains of the Second World War. Being the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Army while scampering to the Cordilleras, the American liberation offensive razed the town to the ground in a matter of days. But Muñoz has risen from the ashes slowly but surely under its dedicated leaders, and now, as a first-class town, has the full confidence to welcome and prosper further in the third millennium.
HOW IT BECOME A MUNICIPALITY
More than a century ago, this place we love and now call Muñoz was a densely forested area inhabited by Baluga tribes who settled along the fertile creeks and rivulets of now Barangays Balante, Catalanacan, and Matingkis. The tribes-lorded settlement was then named “Papaya” and a sitio of Barrio San Antonio of the town of Guimba. With the arrival of more Christian immigrants, including the Spanish conquistadores, sitio Papaya metamorphosed into a pueblo in 1855 with Sebastian del Castro as gobernadorcillio. It was then that the pueblo’s catholic devotees endeared San Sebastian as their patron saint, heightening respect for the gobernadorcillio.
In 1886, Papaya was changed into “Muñoz to honor Don Francisco Muñoz, the province’s alcalde mayor and the community’s first appointed gobernadorcillio. Muñoz was annexed as a barrio of San Juan de Guimba municipality. Settlers tricked in from Bulacan and the Ilocos Region.
Up to the year 1912, Muñoz and San Antonio were barrios or small villages of the town of San Juan de Guimba (now known as Guimba) and Palusapis was then a barrio of the town of Sto. Domingo. The inhabitant of these three (3) barrios petitioned that their said places together with the “sitios” (small homelots) of Kabisuculan, Rang-ayan, Rizal Mataas-na-lupa, Sineguelas, Pukoc, Agricultura and Pulong. Maragol of the municipality of Talavera, be separated from their respective municipalities and be organized into an independent municipality.
Upon the recommendation of the Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija during that time which was then headed by Governor Isauro Gabaldon and pursuant to the provisions of an Act numbered 1748 entitled “An Act authorizing the adjustment of provincial and municipal boundaries and the 23 municipalities of Nueva Ecija at that time was increased to 24 towns by virtue of Executive Order No. 72 dated October 28, 1912, signed and issued by the Government of the Philippine Islands Executive Bureau under the then Acting Governor-General Newton W. Gilbert. However, the said organization of the said three (3) barrios and eight (8) sitios into a new and independent municipality where the seat of government shall be in the barrios of Muñoz, took effect on January 1, 1913. /3 But for some reason or the other, the celebration of the Foundation Day of Muñoz as a town has been observed every January 10.
EARLY CONDITION OF THE MUNICIPALITY
While everybody has the right to development, progress per se is easier said not done for it has to be determinedly labored for in order to achieve the amount or level of success it is aspired.
Although it is true that our early leaders persevered so much for the development of our municipality, the degree of development aspired of was rather slow, attributive perhaps by the subjugation of our nation and our municipality for that matter, by different conquerors on several occasions where the continuity of whatever plans for development then prevailing was put to a stand-still. And, maybe to a large extent, in the dole-out mentality of some if not many of our constituents who seem to be contended in waiting for material assistance from the government instead of becoming self-sufficient in his basic needs thru self-help.
Before the advent of the 1990s, our farm-to-market roads were at a pitiful state, potholes were so big that carabaos could wallow in it on rainy days, poor agricultural production because of lack of technology not to mention natural disasters, unemployment was so great that our professionals were forced to seek work abroad, deliveries of basic services were inadequate due to lack of funds, malnutrition was rampant, local annual income was so low (up to 1992) it could ill afford to finance the implementation of even low-cost projects. All of these and many more, not to mention the lackadaisical or Indifferent attitude of government officials to the said plight of the masses especially in the countryside, compound the problem on under-development of our municipality.
Muñoz was not spared from the pains of the Second World War. It was the last stronghold of the Japanese Imperial Army where one of the bloodiest and fiercest battles during World War II in the Philippines ensued. The whole town was practically leveled to the ground where the Japanese Army before scampering to the Cordilleras committed virtually all forms of atrocities. The Battle of Muñoz started on January 31, 1945 at 7:30 AM where Company K of the 20th Infantry of the 6th Infantry Division figured prominently in the liberation of Muñoz. According to war accounts, by February 7, 1945, not a wall or a tree or one Japanese soldier remained standing in Muñoz. For several days after the battle was over smoke of ruins and the stench of death continue to pervade the areas, whatever records/documents stored in the town hall were reduced to ashes. During those 8 days (Jan.31-Feb. 7, 1945) fierce battle, 1,935 Japanese soldiers were annihilated although 1,527 bodies were only found where total casualties from the Liberating Force totaled 97 dead and 303 wounded out of which the 20th Infantry suffered 57 killed and 152 wounded. / 5 Survivor from the Red Star Division (20th Infantry) used to go on a sentimental visit to our municipality and very recently, September 4, 2000, seven (7) visitors (5 veterans and 2 spouses) paid a visit to Muñoz where a flag raising ceremony/program was dedicated in honor of the gallantry and heroism of those who shed blood, sweat and tears and precious lives during the battle of Muñoz so that we, the living and all the succeeding generations of Muñozonians shall live in freedom.
Many sets of leadership as Municipal Mayors have succeeded one after the other since the birth of our municipality up to the time of its creation as a Science City, all sharing the common vision and mission to establish a community that is physically, socially, politically, economically and spiritually strong and secured:
Source: Laws on Ordinances, Malacanang Library As in the previous years, the celebration lasts for almost two (2) weeks, January 10, up to the feast of Patron Saint- San Sebastian celebrated every January 20 Source: Battle of Muñoz
- 1913-1916 – Hon. Tranquilino R. Delos Santos
- 1916-1919 – Hon. Degracias Delos Santos
- 1919-1925 – Hon. Eulogio Bayuga
- 1925-1928 – Hon. Lucio V. Lopez
- 1928-1931 – Hon. Leocadio Isla
- 1931-1934 – Hon. Julian Velasco
- 1934 (Unfinished term) – Hon. Honorio Calica
- 1934-1937 – Hon. Leocadio Isla
- 1937-1939 – Hon. Nicolas Ruiz
- 1939-1941 – Hon. Diogracias Delos Santos
- 1941-1951 – Hon. Anastacio Tobias
- 1952-1954 (Unfinished term) – Hon. Juan Damian
- 1954-1955 – Hon. Juan Martin
- 1956-1959 – Hon. Dario V. Santos
- 1960-1986 – Hon. Dominador V. Santos
- 1987-1989 – Hon. Simeon T. Reyes
- 1989-1992 – Hon. Alberto A. Tobias
- 1992-2001 – Hon. Efren L. Alvarez, D.Hum.
- 2001-2010 – Hon. Nestor L. Alvarez, Ph.D.
- 2010-2013 – Hon. Efren L. Alvarez, D.Hum.
- 2013-present – Hon. Nestor L. Alvarez, Ph.D.
EARLY CONDITION OF THE MUNICIPALITY
In July 1992, Engineer Efren L. Alvarez, took over the reigns of the local government unit as Local Chief Executive. His administration, thru his initiative and pioneering tendencies, was imbued with the overriding objective for total development of the municipality. Thusly, the adoption of the mission to transform Muñoz into a center of Science and Technology, trade, commerce and Agro-industry. How to transmogrify the mission into reality was the nagging question which gave no room for Mayor Efren L. Alvarez and his staff to pause rather ventured into all possible measures towards the realization of the objective.
Providentially, on September 3, 1993. Muñoz was declared by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as Muñoz Science Community owing to a large measure in the existence in the municipality of various state-of-the-art centers of excellence or research and development agencies, foremost of which is the Central Luzon State University, a learning institution known far and wide. This turn of event set into motion the creative mind of Mayor Efren L. Alvarez to embark into the most ambitious plan of his career, that is to say, the creation of Muñoz into a Science City, the first-ever in the Philippines, and probably the second in the whole world after Tsukuba Science city in Japan.
From that time on, Mayor Efren L. Alvarez practically did not give quarters for respite to his staff in the preparation of any and all attendant documents; personal representations to all concerned personages/agencies to justify the conversion of the municipality of Muñoz into a Science City.
The first landmark action conducted by the first or original 12-member agencies of the Muñoz Science Community was the preparation of a Master Plan identifying therein let alone other vital information/data, the long and medium term projects that would accelerate the total development of the municipality. Dr. Rodolfo C. Undan, present CLSU President who was the VP for Research and Extension during the time, was the principal author of the Master Plan where about 100 copies of the same in book form were given to Senators, Representatives, different government and private agencies, and even the Muñozonians in USA.
In 1992, the budget for expenditures of the municipality was only P8.705M, where massive and relentless efforts were exerted by the LGU to maximize the collection of taxes, in order to cope up with the priority needs of the community and furthermore to satisfy the income requirements for cityhood.
In July 31, 1993 up to June 30, and in July 1, 1996, Muñoz become a 3rd and 2nd Class town respectively, where its annual income for expenditures rose to P67M in CY 2000.
Personnel in the Assessors Office did a splendid job in their tax mapping campaign where it is now official as certified by the land Management Bureau that our total land area is 16,305 has. or 163.5 square kilometers.
Thusly, although we fall short in the required population of 150,000 which is one of the requirements for a municipality, to become a City, but the same is offset by our land area which 63.5 square kilometer more than required area of 100 sq. km.
As a rule, a Bill towards the cityhood of a municipality must emanate from the Lower house or House of Representatives where the concerned District Representative should sponsor the said Bill. To this end, the Hon. Sangguniang Bayan of Muñoz, passed and approved, SB Resolution No. 206 on September 15, 1995, requesting the support and assistance of the four (4) District Representatives of Nueva Ecija especially the Hon. Eleuterio Violago of the 2nd District where Muñoz is situated, to sponsor a bill for the said Cityhood. But the request for much-needed support and assistance, did not merit the favorable consideration of the good Representative, much less sponsoring a Bill in the Lower House anent the said cityhood.
Paradoxically, while the said request to the then District Representative, did not elicit his favorable action, many Representatives from other provinces even as far as Mindanao, signified their interest and full support for the cityhood of our municipality and to name a few: Hon. Renato Leviste, 1st District Oriental Mindoro, Hon. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, 3rd District, Bukidnon, Hon. Ramon S. Bagatsing, Jr., 4th District, NCR, and of course all of the members of the House Committee on Local Government who attended the Public Hearing held at the Muñoz Pagasa Gym headed by Hon. Romeo D.C. Candazo, Chairman of the said committee. Not to be forgotten is Hon. Manuel Villar, then Speaker of the House who personally pledged his support. The names of the Committee Members who attended the Public Hearing held on February 19, 1999, are listed under the sub-caption “Chronological Events” in the latter part of this document.
Despite such setback, Mayor Efren L. Alvarez, his staff, the Honorable Sangguniang Bayan, and the Muñoz Science Community, were not fazed nor demoralized, rather like a wounded warrior, became more fiercely determined in the pursuit of its grandest ambition. Still and all, the period between 1995 and June 1998 was like a lull before the storm, nothing significant happened appertaining the proposed cityhood.
The year 1998 ushered in a new development upon the election of Hon. Simeon E. Garcia, Jr. as Representative of the 2nd District of Nueva Ecija. Urge by our vigorous requests, he sponsored HB No. 3338 which through our initiative, led to the conduct of a Public Hearing held in our Pagasa Gym last February 19, 1999, attended by several members of the House Committee on Local Government headed by its Chairman, Hon. Romeo D.C. Candazo of the Lone District of Marikina City and participated in by more or less 15,000 people from all walks of life. It was a very fruitful Public Hearing where the proposed Cityhood was approved in principle by the said Committee.
From that time on, there was almost no respite in following-up the said proposed cityhood. Even the then President of the Philippines, his Excellency Fidel V. Ramos, publicly announced His support at the Pagasa Gym during his Presidential Visit and full-cabinet meeting in our municipality on April 15, 1997.
We hounded with our request for support all Senators during the time, where all except one (1) (Senator Ramon Revilla) pledged in writing their assistance to our Cityhood.
The Senate Committee on Local Government was swamped by our letters of request for its assistance. Finally, like a streak of light, hope dawned, when on September 25, 2000, the said Committee through its Chairman, Hon. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., scheduled the FIRST committee Hearing, followed by another one on October 5, 2000 and the third and final hearing on October 9, 2000 where Senate Bill 2072 was approved by FIFTEEN (15) of the 18 Senators who attended the same (3 abstained).
After that, the whole nation was rocked by an expose against the highest official of the land President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, unparalleled and unprecedented in its magnitude it has been causing great debacle in our economy, social and political stability.
Our LGU was gripped by the unkind foreboding that our cityhood which was already at the foyer of its realization shall again suffer stalemate. But, Mayor Efren L. Alvarez did not lose heart, rather became doubly persistent in securing the signatures and approval of the Speaker of the House and Senate President. His determination and gift of persuasion paid off when despite all the unfavorable circumstances prevailing during the time, Republic Act No. 8977, “An Act Converting the Municipality of Muñoz in the Province of Nueva Ecija into a Component City to be known as the SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, was approved by the House of Senate on October 9, 2000, by the House of Representatives on October 20, 2000, and by His Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, on November 7, 2000.
From that time on all available manpower was mobilized in the massive preparation attendant to the conduct of Plebiscite such as: Republic Act No. 8977 was published both in National and local newspapers, campaign materials were printed encouraging YES vote; thorough preparation for the 88th Foundation Day of the Municipality and First Founding Anniversary of Muñoz Science City, posters and streamers for YES vote dotted the urban core and even tricycles bear flaglets of YES vote, municipal officials and employees alike actively campaigned for YES vote deeply motivated by the battlecry that “there is no substitute for victory”.
After the Plebiscite on December 9, 2000 where YES votes garnered 12,468 (95%) as against 602 No Votes (5%), the existence of Muñoz as a town ceased and the blossoming of a new era shall begin, the birth of the Science City of Muñoz, the blissful fruit of selfless endeavors for emancipation from under-development. At 7:07 in the evening of December 9, 2000, the Commission on Election Municipal representative proclaimed the cityhood of Muñoz as the Science City of Muñoz.
1. September 3, 1993 – Muñoz was declared by the Department of Science and Technology as SCIENCE COMMUNITY the fifth in the Philippines where its original 12 member agencies are: LGU of Muñoz, Provincial Government of Nueva Ecija, CLSU, BFAR, NIA, DENR, DOST, PHILRICE, BPRE (formerly NAPHIRE), ATI, RCPC and PCC. It gave birth to the idea of converting Muñoz into a Science City.
2. June 1995 – Master Plan of Muñoz Science Community was formulated finalized by the Member–Agencies where the main author was Dr. Rodolfo C. Undan, then VP for Research & Extension now President of CLSU.
3. September 15, 1995 – Resolution Nos. 199 and 206 respectively were passed and approved by the Sangguniang Bayan of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, essences of both are request for the assistance and support of the Four Representatives of the 4 congressional Districts of Nueva Ecija, especially Congressman Eleuterio Violago of the 2nd District to initiate/sponsor a House Bill for the cityhood of Muñoz as a Science City.
4. April 15, 1997 – Presidential visit to Muñoz of former President Fidel V. Ramos and out–of–town full Cabinet Meeting where His Excellency publicly announced his support and approval in principle to the creation of Muñoz Science City. On this same date the President directed thru memorandum, the then Secretary of DOST, Dr. William Padolina to expedite evaluation of the Master Plan of Muñoz Science Community. A Press Conference was likewise held in the afternoon where the main agendum was the cityhood of Muñoz.
5. April 25, 1997– Presentation/discussion/evaluation of the Master Plan at PCARRD, Los Banos, attended by the co–authors, Engr. Roy Concepcion, all of the LGU – Muñoz, Dr. Jose V. dela Cruz, Dean College of Engineering and Dr. Honorato Angeles, VP for Research and Extension, both of CLSU.
6. July 23, 1997 – Symposium was held at CLSU Amphitheater where the pros and cons of the proposed cityhood of Muñoz, attended by member–agencies of the Science Community government and private sectors.
7. January 20, 1998 – Senate President Edgardo Angara, the first to sponsor a Bill towards our cityhood filed his introductory note during the 3rd Regular Session of the 10th Congress seeking for the approval of an Act Creating Muñoz Science City.
8. October 19, 1998 – Sangguniang Bayan of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija passed/approved SB Resolution No. 106, s’98, requesting Hon. Simeon E. Garcia, Jr., Representative, 2nd District of Nueva Ecija, to sponsor a Bill for the cityhood of Muñoz.
9. October 19, 1998 – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Nueva Ecija approved SP Resolution No. 183, s’98, endorsing to the Congress of the Philippines, thru Speaker Manuel Villar, the cityhood of Muñoz.
10. December 2, 1998 – President Joseph Ejercito Estrada endorsed to Speaker Manuel Villar Senate President, Marcelo Fernan, HB3338 as Priority Administration measure.
11. February 19, 1999 – Public Hearing at Pag–asa Gym, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, in re Science Cityhood of Muñoz, attended by more or less 13,000 people and the House Committee on Local Government composed of:
Hon. Romeo D.C. Candazo (Chairman) Hon. Josefina M. Joson
Hon. Roy A. Padilla, Jr. Hon. Laurence B. Wacnang
Hon. Aniceto G. Saludo, Jr. Hon. Jerry A. Salappudin
Hon. Roilo S. Golez Hon. Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado
Also present: Hon. Governor, Tomas N. Joson III Hon. Simeon E. Garcia
February 25, 1999 – House Committee on Local Government conducted its First Committee Hearing at Batasang Pambansa, attended by a huge delegation of Muñoz residents especially the Science Community member–agencies.
April 27, 1999 – HB 3338 was approved by the Lower House in its Third Reading.
June 3, 1999 – LMP National President Jinggoy E. Estrada, endorsed to the Hon. Marcelo M. Fernan, then Senate President, the cityhood of Muñoz.
June 15, 1999 – League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) passed and approved a Resolution endorsing to the House of Senate the cityhood of Muñoz as a Science City. Thru Hon. Jinggoy Estrada – National President of LMP.
July 16, 1999 – Awarding Ceremony at Malacanang Palace where Muñoz was one of the 20 LGUs in the Philippines with Best Programs and winner of the 1998 – 1999 Galing Pook Award for its Program Entry: “Moving Onwards to Muñoz Agricultural Science City”. This is its second Galing Pook Award, the first in 1995.
September 25, 2000 – First Committee Reading/Hearing at the House of Senate attended by a big delegation of Muñozonians, where the proposed cityhood was favorably acted upon by the Committee chaired by Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Senator Robert Barbers, Governor Tomas N. Joson, III, Representative Simeon E. Garcia Jr, Mayor Efren L. Alvarez, Vice Mayor Marienelia SR. Coronel, all members of the Sanggunian Bayan, different Presidents of NGOs composed the Panel for Muñoz.
October 5, 2000 – Second Committee Hearing was held at the Senate where the cityhood proposal was favorably acted upon, without any objection.
October 9, 2000 – Third and Final Committee Hearing where 15 out of the 18 Senators present voted in favor of the cityhood of Muñoz, (3 abstained.) All of the senators present were co – sponsor/authors of SB 2172.
October 20, 2000 – The House of Representatives thru speaker Manuel Villar signed/approved SB No. 2172.
November 7, 2000 – His Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, signed/approved Republic Act No. 8977 – An Act Converting the municipality of Muñoz in the Province of Nueva Ecija into a Component City to be known as Science city of Muñoz.
November 9, 2000 – The full text of Republic Act No. 8977 was published in the November 6 – 12, 2000 weekly issue of the Nueva Ecija Times, a local newspaper. Afterwards, it was also published in two (2) nationwide circulated newspaper, the Daily Tribune and TODAY on November 11, 2000 and November 13, 2000, respectively. Such publications marked the effectivity of Republic Act No. 8977.
November 21, 2000 – His Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada attended the Multi–Sectoral Forum held at the Pagasa Gym in Muñoz where among other activities unveiled the ceremonial marker of R.A. No. 8977 creating the Science City of Muñoz.
December 9, 2000 – Plebiscite was held in Muñoz which ratified, Republic Act No. 8977, making Muñoz a full–pledged “Science City of Muñoz”, the first–ever Science City in the Philippines and most probably also the first Chartered Science City in the world. After garnering 95% YES Votes of the total ballots cast (13,090) 12,468 against 602 NO votes, Mr. Nestor Romano, COMELEC Municipal Registrar proclaimed at 7:07 PM in the Municipal Session Hall before on exultant audience led by Mayor and his First Lady and other officials, Muñoz as the “Science City of Muñoz.”
From its lowly origins as a nondescript “barrio”, Muñoz has metamorphosed into its present stature which is unprecedented in the annuals of the country in its creation as a Science City.
The overriding objective to transmogrify Muñoz into a center of science and technology, trade, commerce and agro-industry is not a farfetched notion after all for Muñoz as a city shall now be financially sound to implement and translate into reality its conceptualized framework of total development.
Muñoz is now fully confident in its march to history, in treading the path to glory and immortality as the First-ever Science City in the Philippines and most probably also the FIRST Chartered City in the World. The City which has a total land area of 16,305 has. And a present population of 65,000 more or less, is now a beehive on activities towards the immediate implementation of projects towards total development.
The Science City of Muñoz is a heritage from His Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Hon. Efren L. Alvarez, First City Mayor of Muñoz and First and only Science City Mayor in the Philippines, the 12,468 Plebiscite Ratifiers of R.A. 8977 to the present and all succeeding generations of Muñozonians.