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Santo Niño, South Cotabato

Santo Niño, officially the Municipality of Santo Niño, (Hiligaynon: Banwa sang Santo Niño), is a 3rd class municipality in the province of South Cotabato, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 40,947 people.[3]

Santo Niño
Municipality of Santo Niño
Map of South Cotabato with Santo Niño highlighted
Map of South Cotabato with Santo Niño highlighted
Santo Niño is located in Philippines
Santo Niño
Santo Niño
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 6°26′N 124°41′E / 6.43°N 124.68°E / 6.43; 124.68Coordinates: 6°26′N 124°41′E / 6.43°N 124.68°E / 6.43; 124.68
Country Philippines
RegionSoccsksargen (Region XII)
ProvinceSouth Cotabato
District2nd District
FoundedApril 7, 1981
Barangays10 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorPablo M. Matinong, Jr.
 • Vice MayorSulpicio F. Villalobos
 • CongressmanFerdinand L. Hernandez
 • Electorate25,112 voters (2019)
 • Total86.20 km2 (33.28 sq mi)
 (2015 census)[3]
 • Total40,947
 • Density480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
 • Income class3rd municipal income class
 • Poverty incidence25.33% (2015)[4]
 • Revenue (₱)97,010,425.91 (2016)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)83
Climate typetropical rainforest climate
Native languagesHiligaynon
Maguindanao language
Blaan language


Situated in the fertile Allah Valley, it is the smallest municipality by land area in the province.

It is bounded by the Municipality of Norala (its mother-town) in the north, the Municipality of Surallah in the east, Allah River and the Municipality of Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat in the south, and the Municipality of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat in the west.


Average temperature in the municipality ranges from a low of 23 °C (73 °F) to a high of 32 °C (90 °F) throughout the year.

Precipitation can be low during the dry season (March to April) at about 40 millimetres (1.6 in) while it can be high especially during the wetter months (May to July) at 100 millimetres (3.9 in).


Santo Niño is politically subdivided into 10 barangays.

  • Ambalgan
  • Guinsang-an (Bo.4)
  • Katipunan (Bo.11)
  • Manuel Roxas (Bo.10)
  • New Panay (Bo.9)
  • Poblacion (Bo. 13)
  • San Isidro (Bo. 12)
  • San Vicente (Bo. 5)
  • Teresita
  • Sajaneba


The municipality's name was derived from its patron saint, the “Santo Niño”, or the Holy Child. It was formerly called Barrio Trece (13) (although many still called the town proper this name) of the Norala Settlement District of then National Land Settlement Administration.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council) of South Cotabato passed a resolution in 1980 requesting then Assemblyman Jose T. Sison to file a bill at the Philippine Parliament to create Santo Niño a municipality. Parliament Bill No. 1220 was finally passed and approved on December 23, 1980, when Ferdinand Marcos signed it into law as Batas Pambansa Bilang 90.[5] In a plebiscite held on April 7, 1981, the law was ratified.

Municipal mayors:

  • Dr. Norberto Oliveros (1981-1986)
  • Dr. Geronimo Dabalus, appointed by the Aquino Government after the 1986 EDSA Revolution (1986-1988)
  • Antonio F. Damandaman, Sr. (1988-1998)
  • Dr. Ervin B. Luntao (1998-2007)
  • Antonio F. Damandaman, Sr. (2007–2016)
  • Pablo M. Matinong, Jr. (2016-present)


YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 30,076—    
1995 32,103+1.23%
2000 36,228+2.63%
2007 38,400+0.81%
2010 39,738+1.25%
2015 40,947+0.57%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][6][7][8]

The population is highly literate.[citation needed]

While the most spoken language is Hiligaynon, everyone can speak Tagalog,[citation needed] some Cebuano, and basic conversational English.

Barangay Ambalgan is predominantly Maguindanaoan Muslims and are considered the ethnic inhabitants of the municipality. The rest of the barangays are predominantly Christian settlers who first arrived in the area in the 1940s.

The municipality is generally peaceful with relatively low crime incident.[citation needed]


Rice production is the primary industry. The well-irrigated rice-lands of the municipality are possible due to the presence of a river irrigation system which is provided by a dam at Allah River at Barangay M. Roxas.

Corn (maize) is the secondary product. Copra is also produced.

Small businesses which provide basic necessities thrive.

Places of interestEdit

  • Bugtong Bukid, a hill along the national highway west to Isulan at Barangay M. Roxas. The municipal government had invested in a swimming pool project in this area sometime in the 1990s but was closed due to mismanagement and lack of maintenance. Nonetheless, this hill is a geological wonder in itself being the only hill of its kind in the area. Folklore also has it that the huge acacia tree near the hill is home to a kapre.
  • The steel bridge that traversed Allah River and connects the municipality to nearby barangays of Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat. The bridge is an excellent location for an afternoon stroll. Carabaos take their baths in late afternoon at the river; time your visit during these hours.


The Santo Nino Public Terminal is a hub for public utility buses and vans that travel to Koronadal City via Surallah and Banga. Travel time from Santo Nino to Koronadal City is around 30 minutes.

General Santos City, where the General Santos International Airport is located, is accessible by public buses and vans from Koronadal City. Travel time from Koronadal City to General Santos City is about one hour.

Travel within the municipality is through public utility tricycles and motorcycles.

Health servicesEdit

The Municipal Health Office at the Municipal Hall Compound provides services for consultations.

Private clinics include:

  • Dr. Ervin B. Luntao Family Clinic and Hospital
  • Dr. Zenaida Maglaya Clinic
  • St. Jude Clinic and Hospital

There are a number of small pharmacies at the municipality.


The municipality has a number of public and private schools. These are:

High Schools

  • Santo Nino National School of Arts and Trades (public), at Barangay San Isidro
  • Santo Nino National High School (public), at Poblacion
  • Notre Dame of Santo Nino (private, a diocesan school), at Poblacion
  • Public high schools in (New) Panay, Katipunan, and Guinsang-an

Elementary Schools

  • Santo Nino Central Elementary School (public elementary school), at Poblacion
  • Public elementary schools at other nine barangays (Katipunan,Guinsang-an, Ambalgan. San Isidro, Sajaneba, M. Roxas)
  • Notre Dame of Santo Nino (private, a diocesan school), at Poblacion
  • Montessori Casa Precious Jewels (private elementary school), at Poblacion


  1. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Province: South Cotabato". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region XII (Soccsksargen)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region XII (Soccsksargen)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  7. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region XII (Soccsksargen)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  8. ^ "Province of South Cotabato". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

External linksEdit