BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PROVINCE
The territorial map of Dinagat Islands embodied the territorial boundaries islets, seas, mountain ranges, forest, rivers, and landmass, the aerial defensive limits.
Dinagat Islands was once a part of Surigao del Norte Province separated by virtue of Republic Act No. 9355 approved by both House of Congress and ratified during the plebiscite held on December 2, 2006. However, in February 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, as the necessary requirements for provincial land area and population were not met. The province reverted to Surigao del Norte on March 30, 2011, However, the Supreme Court reversed its ruling from the previous year, and upheld the constitutionality of RA 9355 and the creation of Dinagat Islands as a province. Lone congressional district represented by Congresswoman Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao and administered by Honorable Glenda B. Ecleo as Provincial Governor.
In the early days, a story was told that a stranger reached the place in search of greener pasture. He approached a native and asked what the inhabitants do for a living. The native said that they farm and fish to live. The stranger’s interest in fishing prompted him to inquire where they fish, and the native replied and pointed to a place saying – “DINHI NIINI NA DAGAT” (here in this sea). Since then, the place was called “DINAGAT”.
The province was the site of the Historic Battle of Surigao Strait during the Second World War. The Municipality of Loreto became the entry point of the American Liberation Forces on October 17, 1944. It was on this shore that the 6th Ranger Battalion of the 6th U.S. Army under Maj. Henry A. Mucci landed at Sitio Campintac of Barangay Panamaon, Loreto.
It was during this landing that the American flag was first re-hoisted on Philippine soil after the Philippine-American Forces were defeated at the start of World War II by the Japanese Forces. They named the place “Black Beach No. 2”.
The brave stance of the combined Philippine-American Forces in Loreto helped opened the door of Philippine liberation from the claws of Imperial Japan that culminated in the withdrawal of the Japanese Forces from the Philippine soil.
The establishment of a haven for the members of Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association in different barangays of Dinagat Municipality in 1970’s changed the local socio-political dynamics in Dinagat Islands. Their arrival suddenly highlighted the need of more social services in the area and the creation of San Jose Municipality which is now the center of trade, industry, and education in the islands.
The new province has seven (7) municipalities and forty seven (47) islands & islets with San Jose as the biggest and where all seats of governments are now located.
The Municipality of Dinagat is the oldest and the mother municipality of the province. The seven municipalities used to be part of the First District of the Province of Surigao del Norte until the province was created on October 12, 2012 through Republic Act No. 9355.
The province consists of 100 Barangays with a total population of 126,803 per NSO Survey 2010 and a total land area of 96,745.49 hectares.
Provincial Office Sta. Cruz, San Jose, Dinagat Islands Land Area 96,745.49 Hectares Population 126,803 as of 2010 Census Survey Municipalities 7 (Basilisa, Cagdianao, Dinagat, Libjo, Loreto, Tubajon, & San Jose) Barangays 100 Location bounded on the North, starting from the desolation point of Surigao Strait.
THIS SEAL ENCOMPASSES THE FOLLOWING:
The blue color outside the yellow colored ring represents the PNP organization which belongs to CARAGA Region and the contents inside the yellow colored ring represent the Police Provincial Office of Dinagat Islands who will serve and protect all Dinagatnons.
The yellow colored ring represents supremacy bringing the seven (7) municipalities collectively as one province with two (2) black boundary outlines that signifies the perimeter of the Islands.
Blue and red clouds forming a big heart signifies the vast love of the people living in the islands, lumads and the non-lumads willing to protect its natural resources, uphold the value of love of God and its people, foster unique mixtures of customs and traditions, respect beliefs, practices and religions.
Helmet (head gear) within the scripted year 2006 is the protector for human dangers and serves as shield of the natural resources in the entire islands from any invaders and destructions through the power of Republic Act No. 9355.
The white dove represents freedom that separates from the mother province Surigao del Norte and signifies the head of the state Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who signed freely without any second thought in signing the bill.
Golden Inner circle signifies the sun, the source of energy that the author of Republic Act No. 9355, Hon. Glenda B. Ecleo draw her inspiration, force and power to consistently pushing and strongly fought to defend and eventually conquered the lower and the upper house of her quest that this mystical islands became a province.
The Radiating fifty-seven rays (57) of the sun represent the congressmen who supported the author in making the House Bill No. 884 into realization.
Upside down handshake bridge connecting the two mystical islets “Lalaki at Babaeng Bukid” represents the strong relationships of the habitats through “SPEECS” the spiritual, political, economy, environmental, cultural and social development without sacrificing the eco-system of the Islands.
Mystical islets Lalaki and Babaeng Bukid signify the gigantic guards of the entire islands.
The shovel and pickaxe is a symbol of an environment friendly mining development of the islands.
Clear deep blue sea signifies life, rich aquatic natural resources, which most of the habitats of the islands are dependent on it.
Splashing the two big fishes “liplipan” (one of the endangered species) forming letter “D” represent the literal meaning of the Dinagat and signifies the importance in preservation of all aquatic varieties and considered as one of the primary essential of the human consumption of the islands.
The rice field stands for the vastness of the lands within the territorial area of the islands and one of the sources of the basic human needs (foods).
Magkuno tree with four (4) giant roots symbolizes the strong foundation of the great architect of municipality of San Jose, the late Mayor Ruben E. Ecleo Sr. who envisioned that someday will become a province through the inspiring efforts of his beloved wife Hon. Glenda B. Ecleo. The Magkuno tree or iron wood is one of the endangered species in the woodlands of his province that the populace should preserve and protect. It also characterized the literal meaning of “I” means islands and the firmness to stand against trials and tribulations that the province may encounter.