History of Samal
The Municipality of Samal derived its name from the Isamals who were its first inhabitants. The Isamals were brought by the first and second waves of migration from the Malay Region of Southeast Asia, dynastically ruled by a Datu up to the early part of the American Regime. The latest ruling tribal Chieftain was Datu Taganiog who died on January 28, 1948. Discovery revealed that the latter lived at “Malibasa” (now known as Peñaplata, the poblacion) where he exercised his general supervision. The word “Malibasa” meant honorable. The Isamals lived in perfect harmony as peace-loving people.
When the Department of Mindanao and Sulu was formed by the American Government, the Governor-General created the archipelago into a district municipality which was composed of the Island of Samal, Talicud, Cruz, Ligid, the Malipano Islets and the Arboles (Sanipahan). The district was governed by the District President, District Vice-President and the members of the town council whose term of office depended on the trust and confidence of the Provincial Governor who was the appointing officer.
On July 8, 1948, the District Municipality of Samal was created into a regular municipal corporate by virtue of Executive Order No. 151, issued by the late President Elpedio Quirino. District Mayor Apolonio Mahinay was reappointed by Provincial Governor Miranda as the Municipal Mayor of the Island Municipality of Samal, which position he held until December 31, 1951, He lost the mayoralty position to the late Municipal Mayor Simplicio B. Obenza during the elections of November 8, 1951. Unfortunately, Mayor Obenza died on July 7, 1971 and was succeeded by his Vice Mayor Felix O. Solamo, Jr. who was also defeated by Mayor Galileo S. Obenza, the son of the late Mayor, in November 1971 elections.
On May 28, 1953, the daughter Municipality of Babak was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 586, issued by President Quirino. The division of the old Province of Davao into three (3) provinces ensued. The southern portions of Samal Island was created as the Municipality of Kaputian by virtue of Republic Act No. 4745 dated July 18, 1966 issued by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos leaving Babak which was the mother municipality with fifteen (15) Barangays. In early 60′s, the Municipality of Samal was predominated by Cebuanos constituting 70% the total number of population while the 22% were Isamals and the 8% were composed of Boholanos, Ilonggos, Leytenos, Muslims and others from Luzon. Most of the island inhabitants were farmers and fishermen. There were only few professionals.