Historical Development

The historical development of the San Mateo dates back even before its founding in 1946 when it became a municipality from mother town Santiago.

In 1942, during the Japanese time, a shadow government of the Japanese Imperial Army existed better known as Yoshisawa, in honor of Colonel Yoshisawa, the highest ranking officer of the Japanese Imperial Army, who came to San Mateo. Mayor Doroteo Barbero was appointed in 1942 but in 1943 he was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers who suspected him as a “guerilla.” His former secretary Estanislao Bueno succeeded him. Mayor Bueno had difficulties in running the affairs of the puppet administration. He was dictated by the Japanese and closely watched by the guerrillas to the extent of being branded as pro-Jap. The stigma of puppetry in his name finally cleared when the American Forces stationed in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, vindicated him. He served from 1943 to 1945.

Don Mateo Cadeliña, a Second World War veteran, first stepped in San Mateo (first name Marasat) sometime in 1908 upon invitation of his older sister named Policarpia “Polin” Cadeliña, who learned about a vast plain of promising agricultural land along the Magat River. He returned to Bacarra, his hometown, and in 1912, with his family together with the first pioneering Ilocano settlers took a “Biray” boat from the port of Curimao, Ilocos Norte, sailed around Northern Luzon through rough seas defying storms and turbulent waves, landed at Aparri, Cagayan. They took a “barangay” or raft and after a month-long trip landed at Turayong, Cauayan, Isabela. The escape from sheer economic want was not made overnight. The Ilocano settlers cleared the fields by the sheer might of manual labor in pursuit of their aspirations. The tobacco industry proved profitable in the sandy loam fertile soil. Later, corn was grown and still much later, upland rice planting was introduced with the “ammay” rice variety brought by the Cagayanos. Like the great American settlers in the new world they fought hard their way leaving no stones unturned in a war against poverty. Misfortunes nor deaths did not subdue their enthusiasm to establish a community of abundance and happiness.

The pioneering settlers, mostly Bacarreños, who came from the Ilocos Region then the “Ibangirs” from the Central Plain of Luzon, enjoyed the way they were. They were sociable, hospitable, disciplined, brave, courageous, patient, industrious, persevering and had the spirit of “Bayanihan.” They were religious and had the anxiety for education and the foremost virtues of thrift and industry.

Governor Gabriel R. Visaya found his way to San Mateo in 1922 upon invitation of Don Mateo Cadeliña and Padre Fidel Reginaldo. He initiated a series of catechism classes and at the same time did tobacco buy-and-sell business with Vidal Guerrero, Don Jose Ramones and Don Francisco Ramones. Don Gabriel Visaya, before he became Governor of Isabela, was appointed as Municipal Secretary of Carig (first name of Santiago City) to Mayor Raymundo Ibay in 1929. Concerned with the plight of his people, he fought to separate Marasat from the Municipality of Cauayan (now a city) to become a Municipality of Santiago (now a city). It was through his able leadership together with Don Mateo Cadeliña that hastened the creation of the Municipality of San Mateo on March 17, 1946 by virtue of the Executive Order No.97 of the late President Sergio Osmeña with Don Mateo Cadeliña, as the first Mayor.

A man of astounding ability and persuasive power, Don Gabriel R. Visaya was uninterruptedly elected as Board Member from 1951 to 1963, enabling him to complete the survey and construction of San Mateo-Alicia Road which he proposed way back 1946. He had a continuous brilliant public service for 36 years.

In the national elections on April 23, 1946, President Manuel A. Roxas won and appointed Cornelio Alipio to replace Mayor Cadeliña who belonged to the Nacionalista Party. He served the unexpired term of Mayor Cadeliña from 1946 to 1951 for he won in the forth coming elections. Mayor Alipio transferred the sites of the municipal plaza, public market, school and cemetery from Old Centro to its present location. He started the construction of the public market.

Mayor Cadeliña came back to power when he unseated Mayor Alipio in the following local elections of 1951. He built a new municipal hall of Matnog type.

In the local elections of 1955, Mayor Marcelo J. Santiago from the “Tanap” region emerged as the political leader. Mayor Santiago put up two market buildings, the health unit and the reading centers during his administration. He was responsible for the establishment of the Bureau of Fisheries. He named the streets and made general improvements.

Mayor Hermogenes L. Ramil, a teacher and a brilliant orator succeeded Mayor Santiago in 1960. He improved the municipal streets and opened feeder roads. He could have been a remarkable leader would it not for his untimely death after two years of dedicated service. He was assassinated. His Vice Mayor, Braulio P. Lucas, served the unexpired term of two years from 1962 to 1963. He initiated the beautification of the municipal grounds and fenced it with hollow blocks including the town plaza. A veteran politician having served as councilor and vice-mayor, Mayor Lucas worked hard to move San Mateo to prosperity.

An interesting political figure of strong influence assumed the political leadership of San Mateo in 1964 when he won in the local elections of 1963. Mayor Severo G. Lachica, a teacher by profession first hit the political circle when he was elected as number one councilor under the Ramil Administration. From there, he won unprecedented victories and maintained his mayoralty position for 22 years until 1986 when he was forced to step down under the Revolutionary Government of President Corazon C. Aquino as an aftermath of the EDSA Revolution when the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from power.

Most notable achievement of Mayor Lachica was the construction of the present modern edifice of the Municipal Hall and the renovation of the old building in 1983.

Other important achievements include the districting of the different barrios in the poblacion known as District I, District II, District III and District IV, and which later on were made barangays such as Barangay I, Barangay II, Barangay III and Barangay IV.

Other important projects were the construction of the Imelda Triangular Park (now Freedom Park), the Children’s Park, the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Auditorium (now the Livelihood Training Center) and the reconstruction of the burned down buildings of the public market in 1971. He also concreted municipal streets, roads, bridges, school buildings and RHU Center. He assisted in the putting-up of the Bureau of Telecommunications tower, buildings and facilities.

In 1986, after the People power or EDSA Revolution, this resulted to the unprecedented fall of President Ferdinand E. Marcos, sweeping reforms were made from the national to the barangay bureaucracy. By virtue of the Philippine Constitution, a general revamp in the bureaucracy was made. The change of leadership in the office of the Mayor was formally done on May 22, 1986, and subsequently the new set of the Sangguniang Bayan Members including the Vice Mayor assumed office. They were called Officer-In-Charge (OIC). Dr. Venancio O. Villarta, the incumbent vice-mayor was appointed the first OIC in the Municipality of San Mateo.

Mayor Venancio O. Villarta, a medical doctor by profession with a simple but strong personality, has for his credit a 15-years continuous brilliant political career. He first threw his hat to the political arena with a landslide victory as vice mayor in the 1980 local elections. In 1986, he became OIC Mayor for more than one (1) year. The elections of 1988 gave him a resounding success, which catapulted in the succeeding political contests. Mayor Villarta’s remarkable accomplishments include the landscaping of the municipal compound, improvement of the Freedom Park, improvement of the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Auditorium (now the Livelihood Training Center), and construction of different buildings such as the R.I.C., Liga ng mga Barangay, Senior Citizen, the Burolan (now being used as stock room) and the postal building. He also constructed the Modern Abattoir and the San Mateo Commercial Center in place of public market which was totally razed by fire on April 28, 1994.

On May 11, 1998 election, the Vice Mayor Feliciano V. Palomares then won as municipal mayor. The Agrikulturang Maka-Masa Festival, which was one of the major programs of President Joseph Estrada, was held in the municipality on April 26-30, 1999. It was a big success that made San Mateo known not only in the Region but also in the entire nation. Under his administration, some of the developments of San Mateo include the LGU-Urban Water Supply and Sanitation and the concrete bridge linking Bagong Sikat and the mainland of San Mateo.

The national and local elections on May 14, 2001, saw a turnaround trend in favor of Hon. Roberto C. Agcaoili, a leader with vision and commitment was elected as the new municipal mayor with a landslide victory. The wide margin of votes showed the maturing posture of the electorate.

Remarkable achievements of the Agcaoili Administration includes the following: Re-classification of the municipality from 3rd class to 2nd class and finally became 1st class in 2008; consistent Best Real Property Tax Collector for consecutive years; Celebration of the First Duck Festival & First Munggo Field Day & Festival, which falls in the month of December & May respectively; completion of the public market buildings; construction of the San Mateo Food Court inside the public market; improvement of the Children’s Park and Freedom Park; establishment of the 24-Hour Action Task Force Center which contributed to a safe, orderly and peaceful community; establishment of the Sinamar Norte Integrated High School now San Mateo National High School and SMVIHS Annex now San Mateo General & Comprehensive School (SNIS); conduct of the Summer Class Program – first in the province & in the region and the production of the RCA (Reading Comprehension Assessment) Books to address the educational thrusts of the municipality; students are likewise assisted through the LGU Scholarship Grants and provision of summer job through the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES); establishment of BREQS (Batch Request Entry &Query System) – the first in Region 2 where San Mateoñans will no longer travel to avail the security papers on birth, marriage and death; putting-up of LGU Publication first named UGNAYAN Today which later changed to “The Agro-Ecological Hub” and now The Galing! San Mateo Hub; The Rural Health Unit was certified SENTRONG SIGLA Phase II Level I Facility and Public-Private Mix DOTS Unit;San Mateo was included in the Guinness Book of World Records through the Simultaneous Breastfeeding Program; The numerous infrastructure projects include grading, concrete paving and rehabilitation of municipal streets and barangay roads, repair and beautification of municipal buildings, rehabilitation and construction of drainage systems, repair and construction of school buildings, classrooms and day care centers, and construction of different government Multi-Purpose and Drying Pavement (MPDP) and multi-purpose buildings through Counter-Parting Scheme (Brgy., D.A., Prov’l & Congressman Fund and LGU). This administration has fully implemented the salient features and provisions of the R.A. 9003 or otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 which paved the way to recognize two (2) barangays as Champions in the Nationwide Search for Model Barangays on Ecological Solid Waste Management Programs and awarded as the 2009 National Champion of the  Philippine Garbology Marathon Zero Basura Olympics.

In 2008, Honorable Mayor Roberto C. Agcaoili, now the municipal vice-mayor, was awarded Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award by the Civil Service Commission – the highest award given to a public servant. On the same year, he was given the Punong Bayan Plaque of Excellence by the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines.

Moreover, the Gawad Galing Pook Foundation awarded the “Munggo: the Black Gold of San Mateo” as one of the Ten (10) Most Outstanding Programs of local governance in the entire Philippines (2007). Apart from those awards, LGU San Mateo had also received the Hall of fame award being the Most Child-Friendly Municipality in the Region, 2007-2010 and awarded as national champion twice, 2008 & 2009; Excellence Award in Disaster Management, tagged as “Gawad Kalasag “not only in the province and in the region but also in the entire country. All of these accomplishments of the Agcaoili’s Administration made San Mateo the Agro-Ecological Destination in Cagayan Valley under Presidential Proclamation No. 1685, dated December 1, 2008.

On May 10, 2010 national and local elections, the victory in mayoralty race showed the unending support of the San Mateonians to Agcaoili’s administration because after the multi-awarded Mayor Hon. Roberto C. Agcaoili finished his three (3) consecutive terms, his wife, Dr. Crispina R. Agcaoili, a medical doctor in profession, took over his place as the new local chief executive. Mayor Ampie (as they call her) is a very simple person whose one of her advocacies is participatory governance. Her plans include continuous program for women empowerment; construction of the Health Care Facility, RHU Integrated Community Hospital; provision of potable water and sanitary toilet; Core Shelter Program; Municipal Plaza development; construction of Pasalubong Center; Sustainability of the Child-Friendly Movement & the Ecological Solid Waste Management; and to be the Agro-Ecological City.

In her first term of office, she was awarded Punong Bayan Certificate of Excellence in 2012 by the League of Municipalities in the Philippines. On other related sectoral services, the municipality of San Mateo received various awards in terms of transparency, accountability and effective governance in view of its effective implementation of all national and local programs. The following are the major achievements of Mayor Ampie during her three (3) consecutive terms of service which fulfilled a challenging but fruitful years because of the various awards she received for the municipality as a result of her dedication and commitment to public service, viz:

On social welfare: Conduct of the First Youth Summit attended by in-school and out-of-school youth covering thirty-three barangays (2017); Two (2) rounds of implementation of the Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS), first in Isabela;“Bahay Mo, Ayusin Ko” or Adopt-a-House Program, in partnership with the Rotary Club of San Mateo Balatong, Inner Wheel Club and Rural Bank of San Mateo and other private citizens; Project WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene), provision of toilet bowls and installation of pitcher pumps and jetmatic  pump to different barangays; construction of the Rural Health Unit Integrated Community Hospital (RHU-ICH) now San Mateo Integrated Community Hospital (SMICH) through the bayanihan spirit of all the barangays, NGOs, LGU, different sectors and political leaders; continuing support in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps to extremely poor households, a project of the DSWD and chosen as the pilot area in the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in support to the 4Ps beneficiaries; construction of housing units in seven (7) barangays under the Core Shelter Assistance Program from the DSWD dubbed as “Home Along the Cadastral”; cash for work, cash for fund and cash for training for  farmers and youth under  the DSWD; annual conduct of Alay Mula sa Puso in cooperation with the different NGOs; sustainability of the Child-Friendly Movement (CFM) thru annual conduct of Universal Children’s Month Celebration (UCMC) and later changed to National Children’s Month Celebration (NCMC) under RA 10661, creation in 2012 and annual reorganization of the San Mateo Youth Council (SMYC), Project ELMO (Elected Little Municipal Officials); annual conduct of the Project TEACH (Talent Expressions Advocacy for Children); annual conduct of Mano Po Tay, Mano Po Nay, Project TANGO or Tulong at Alalay ng NGOs, conducted Children’s Congress dubbed as VOICE (Voicing Out Ideas/Information from Children Exclusively), Project D’CHAMP or Deserving Children Awarded with Medals and Prizes, regular conduct of Couples Enrichment Seminar dubbed as “Timpuyog Ti Agassawa”, conduct of Parent Effectiveness Seminar; conduct of Responsible Parenthood Seminar and continuous monitoring of BCPC thru the annual Search for the Most Child-Friendly Barangays and Schools; distribution of NEGO-KART to ambulant vendors; women empowerment; annual conduct of Alay Lakad; sustainability of the AGAP Program - Aruga at Gabay Alay sa may Kapansanan sa Pag-iisip in which the Department of Health Region 02 recognized this program as an innovation and good practice on the Mental Health Programs, thus, the municipality was given Plaque of Recognition (2017); zoning of all videoke bars in one place; and intensified campaign against  illegal drugs and killings.

On health services: DOH accreditation of the RHU-ICH (SMICH) as an infirmary, establishment of the maternity lying-in clinic at the Rural Health Unit and already PHILHEALTH accredited; PhilHealth moves to all barangays; Conduct of Blood Letting Activity twice a year  through “Dugo Mo, Dugtong Buhay Ko” Program in partnership with different Non-Government Organizations (NGOs); holding of the annual Buntis Congress, first in the province; giving of standometers to all barangays; distribution of detecto weighing scale to some public schools; conduct of Pabasa sa Nutrisyon to all barangays; Supplemental Feeding Program and Feeding Program to all day care pupils; and continuous implementation of Nutrition Program in which the Municipality was awarded as the  Most Outstanding Brgy. Nutrition Scholar (BNS) in the province, in the Region and 6th Placer in the national level (2015) and received the Green Banner award yearly, provincial level. The municipality was also recognized as one of the Champions on Health Governance (2013 to 2016) by the Kaya Natin Movement and Ateneo School of Government, DILG and DOH; and received the DOH Red Orchid Award (2015 & 2016) and the municipality was recognized by the DOH R02 in the implementation of different health programs in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals on Health (2017).

On education: bike to school program, continuous implementation of the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES); annual conduct of Summer Class Enhancement Program (SCEP) to daycare pupils/pre-school children; grants of scholarships to out-of-school youth and to deserving students and giving of goods/supplies and transportation assistance especially to those potential drop-outs; and realization of having Special Education or SpEd Class at the San Mateo East Central School (SMECS) through the initiative of the district supervisors; continuous support to LSB teachers; distribution of National Achievement Test (NAT) reviewers to all grade 3 and grade 6 pupils; conduct of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) and other literacy programs in which the municipality was conferred with National Literacy Award - Regional Winner (2012) and 5th Place, National Winner (National Literacy Awards 2016) which paved the way in the implementation of the Project GALING SMI (Going Around Locating Illiterates and Non-readers making them Smarter and Mindful Individual) catering illiterate adults, out-of-school youths, non-reader ad slow reader pupils and students.

On culture, social & sports development of youth: annual participation in the Isabela Day Celebration and Bambanti Festival of which the municipality was awarded as the First Runner-Up (Municipal Level) over-all grand winner in the year 2014; annual celebration of Town’s Founding Anniversary and Balatong Festival with various activities; launching of the Balatong Festival Song and Recipe Book (2013); annual conduct of the Summer League with the JCI San Mateo Balatong and Liga ng mga Barangay; observance of the Linggo ng Kabataan with various activities; continuously support to young athletes in the conduct of the Palarong Bayan, Area Meet and Provincial Meet – the municipality has sent athletes for CAVRAA, SCUUA and Palarong Pambansa. The delegates of municipality placed Over-all Champion for four consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) during the Congressional District Palaro.

On economic sector: construction of AA Slaughter house, Continuous conduct of the Expanded Modified Rapid Composting Technology (EMRCT) Program with the Bureau of Water and Soil Management, conduct of Rice Development Program, conduct of annual farmers’ congress; completion of the Munggo Packaging and Processing House; construction of the Pasalubong Center; swine dispersal to the different RICs in the different barangays; goat dispersal projects, and  tilapia fingerling distribution to the 4H Club; creation of the Joint Inspectorate Team (JIT) to facilitate and speed up the process of registration and payment of business establishments in the municipality; and organization of the Business Club of San Mateo, Isabela, Inc. These programs contributed for garnering the following recognitions: 3rd Place as Most Competitive Municipality, Government Efficiency Category (2014); consistent recipient of the Ten Most Outstanding Farmers (TOFARM) Award in the country by the JCI Philippines & Universal Harvester Incorporation; and also with the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award; three (3) consecutive years awardee in the GAWAD SAKA Award in different categories; and the declaration of San Mateo as the Munggo Capital of the Philippines by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala by virtue of Administrative Order No. 23, approved November 17, 2011

On infrastructure: construction of Multi-Purpose Livelihood Training Center; construction of agricultural facilities; completion of the San Roque-Bagong Sikat Bridge; continuous construction of the New Community Center; New Office of the Sangguniang Bayan, HRMO and Legal Office; road concreting & infrastructure projects in the different barangays; Renovation of the RHU; and installation of gates and roofing of alley ways of the public market.

On environmental sector: construction and operation of the Municipal Material Recovery Facility (M2RF), sustainability of the RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management; annual conduct of tree planting activities of different sectors; and continuous implementation of “Walang Plastikan” in which the municipality received a plaque of appreciation as model LGU for sustaining our support in the implementation of RA 9003 by the DENR-EMB (2013) and awarded as among the three LGUs being a  LGU Eco-Champion in the Philippines (2016).

On customer service: annual conduct of Pulong-Pulong sa Barangay; pursued the installation of the Land Bank of the Philippines ATM Booth and the construction of LBP satellite office; conducted two (2)  Mass Weddings annually, couples were given free PhilHealth registration and free processing of  security papers; installation of the Philippine Civil Registry Information System (PhilCRIS) at the MCR office for an efficient and effective storage of data on births, marriage, deaths and other statistics, the first to be implemented in the entire Region; regular quarterly publication of The Galing! San Mateo Hub, the official publication of the LGU; and installation of LGU website, www.sanmateo-isabela.gov.ph.

The following are the notable awards and accomplishments: Received the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) for three consecutive years, 2015, 2016 & 2017 - one of the few municipalities in the country who passed the core areas such as financial administration, disaster preparedness, social protection, and peace and order; and essential areas such as business-friendliness and competitiveness, environmental management and tourism, culture and the arts; LGU San Mateo was one of the nine (9) municipalities recognized by DILG Region 02 (2014) as “LGUng Magaling, May Nararating” because of the best practices in different aspects of public service; garnered the Seal of Child Friendly Local Governance (2014 to 2017); received the Certificate of Excellence conferred by the League of Municipalities  in recognition of Mayor Champions & municipal governments that demonstrated exemplary performance in local governance; Top 5 Performing Municipality in the Philippines (2012) identified by the DILG; Received the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping-Bronze (2014) and Seal of Good Housekeeping (2012 & 2013) in recognition of its good governance performance in internal housekeeping particularly on four (4) areas, namely (1) Good Planning; (2) Sound Financial Management; (3) Transparency and Accountability; and (4) Valuing of Performance Monitoring; Gawad Pamana ng Lahi Finalist (2012) in the Region for the municipality’s exemplary performance in administrative, social, economic and environmental governance.  Those qualified include Ilagan, San Mateo and Aritao; Hall of Fame Search for Most Child Friendly Municipality in the Region (2011), our Municipality bagged the award for the fourth time; 1st Runner Up – Search for Most Child Friendly Municipality in the Philippines (2011) & National Finalist (2012); and Winner in the Regional Excellence Award for Disaster Prepare LGU of the Year (READY 24/7), (2016 to 2017), 1st to 3rd Class Municipality Category.

Truly San Mateo is one of the best places to visit and stay.

Political Leadership

Municipal Mayor from 1942 TO Present

Hon. Doroteo Barbero -Yoshisawa (1942-1943)
Hon. Estanislao Bueno -Yoshisawa Regime (1943-1945)
Hon. Mateo A. Cadeliña -Appointed (1946), Elected (1952-1955)
Hon. Cornelio S. Alipio -Appointed (1946), Elected (1947-1951)
Hon. Marcelo J. Santiago -Elected (1956-1959)
Hon. Hermogenes L. Ramil -Elected (1960-1962)
Hon. Braulio P. Lucas -Elected (1962-1963)
Hon. Severo G. Lachica -Elected (1964-1986)
Hon. Venancio O. Villarta, M.D. -Elected (1986-1998)
Hon. Feliciano V. Palomares -Elected (1998-2001)
Hon. Roberto C. Agcaoili -Elected (2001-2010)
Hon. Crispina R. Agcaoili, M.D. -Elected (2010-present)

Barangay Creations and Developments

“Marasat” as the first name of the Municipality of San Mateo was first under the political jurisdiction of the Municipality of Cauayan in 1912 and then under the municipality of Santiago (Carig) before its founding in 1946. San Mateo (Marasat) was among the municipalities stretching along the mighty Magat River from the Municipalities of Ramon, Cabatuan and Luna (Antatet).

Marasat which was later on became Old Centro I and Old Centro 2, was then the seat of the municipal government under the Yoshisawa regime of the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. It was later transferred after the liberation in 1946 to its present site by the late Mayor Cornelio Alipio.

Among the early barangays were Curag Sur (now Estrella, Bella Luz, Villa Magat, Dagupan and San Manuel), Morong (now Sinamar Norte and Sinamar Sur), Caggong (now Rang-ay, Cabatuan), Balongiking (now San Ignacio), Cadanglaan (now San Roque,) Buenavista (now San Antonio) and Oscariz (now barangay of Ramon). “Masarat” was later divided into two; such was divided later into Daramuangan Norte and Daramuangan Sur.

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