History

Historical Background of the Province

 

                  The island of Biliran was once a part of Leyte Province. Biliran first gained the status of a sub-province by virtue of R.A. 2141, which was enacted by Congress on April 8, 1959. Under this charter, the municipalities of Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Maripipi and Naval including all the territories consisted therein comprised the sub-province of Leyte to be known as the Sub-province of Biliran, with the seat of the government in the municipality of Naval. The first Lt. Governor and the first Special Board Member to represent in the Provincial Board of Leyte were appointed by the President of the Philippines with the consent of the Commission on Appointments.

                   The title “Governor” was formerly known as “Lt. Governor”. However, by virtue of the amendments made to the original charter by R.A. 5977, which was enacted on June 21, 1969, the term Lt. Governor was changed to Governor with executive powers of a Provincial Governor. With the amendment, the Office of the Deputy Provincial Treasurer of Leyte, including its personnel, was transferred to the Sub-province of Biliran. The Office of the Auditor was created and all funds accruing to the Sub-province of Biliran became expendable for its exclusive benefits.

The passage of R.A. 6415, the last amendment to the original charter, which was enacted on August 27, 1971 provided among others for the creation of independent offices such as the Assistant Provincial Fiscal, the Sub-provincial Engineer, the Sub-provincial Health Officer, the Sub-provincial Treasurer and other complements of similar ranks. Under this legislation the Sub-province of Biliran insofar as its administration is concerned, existed as distinct, separate and independent province, with the municipality of Naval as its capital.

                During the synchronized elections on May 11, 1992 a plebiscite was conducted to ratify the approval of the conversion of the sub-province of Biliran into a regular province pursuant to Section 462 of Republic Act No. 7160. On May 21, 1992 the members of the Plebiscite Board of Canvassers proclaimed by unanimous vote the conversion of the independent province, to be known as the Province of Biliran.

According to folklore, Biliran derived its name from a native grass, “Borobiliran,” which was abundant on the plains of the island during the pre–Spanish period. Long before this era, seafarers passing through the narrow straits of Biliran that separate the mainland of Leyte and the island of Biliran had noticed the fertile plains and the lush green hills of the island.

                 In the early 18th century, a group of settlers led by Fr. Gaspar settled in Albacia (now a sitio of Barangay Hugpa in the municipality of Biliran). Years later, the same group of settlers but led by Fr. Lorenzo Rivera transferred to Magsanoc. Unfortunately, Magsanoc (now Sitio Nasunugan) was burned to the ground. The group finally settled in the plains of Biliran. This settlement developed and grew and so by 1878 it was formally declared a municipality of Leyte by the Spanish authorities – the first town in the island of Biliran. This significant event led virtually to the naming of the whole island as Biliran.

 

The Planning Environment

Location, land area, and political subdivisions

 

          Biliran is an island province located on the eastern part of the Visayas group of islands. It lies within the geographic coordinates of 11o28’00” to 11o50’00” latitude and 124o37’00” longitude. It is bounded on the east by the Samar Sea, on the west by the Strait of Biliran, on the north by the Visayas Sea, and on the south by Carigara Bay.

            Biliran is comfortably nestled between the islands of Leyte and Samar. It is one of the six provinces comprising the Eastern Visayas Region or Region VIII. The island of Biliran was originally known as Isla de Panamao. It was formerly a sub-province of Leyte but it became a regular province on May 11, 1992 after a plebiscite was conducted in accordance with R.A. 7160.

 

Number of municipalities and total population

          This island province is located about 123 kilometers north of Tacloban City, the regional center. Biliran is composed of eight municipalities namely: Almeria, Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, Maripipi and the capital town of Naval. There are 132 barangays, of which 20 are classified as urban and 112 are rural. Biliran is represented as a lone district in the House of Representatives.

         

          The total land area is 555.42 square kilometers (55,542 hectares), which is only 0.18% of the Philippines’ total land area of about 300,000 sq. km., and only 2.59% of the entire Eastern Visayas. of this total area of 55,550 hectares, 33,199 hectares are considered alienable and disposable while 22,350 hectares comprise forestland.

Among the municipalities, Naval, the capital of the province, is the largest in area (107.08 sq. km.), followed by Caibiran (94.58 sq. km). The smallest is Maripipi, having an area of 31.71 sq. km.

 

 

TOTAL LAND AREA OF BILIRAN PROVINCE BY MUNICIPALITY

MUNICIPALITY

FORESTLAND

(Hectares)

A & D

(Hectares)

TOTAL

(Hectares)

Almeria

2,975

3,574

6,549

Biliran

4,253

4,375

8,629

Cabucgayan

1,740

2,548

4,288

Caibiran

4,253

5,205

9,458

Culaba

4,444

2,903

7,347

Kawayan

1,495

2,889

5,384

Maripipi

890

1,924

2,814

Naval

2,300

8,780

11,080

Total

22,350

33,199

55,549

 

 POLITICAL SUBDIVISION

ProvincialCapital…………………Naval
No. of Municipalities …………….8
No. of Barangay ………………..132
Congressional District ………… 1
Provincial Classification …………4th
Population ………………………..132,209
No. of Households …………….. 25,646
Population Density ……………...238.03 person/sq.kms.
Literacy ……………………………92.29%
Biliran is registered with the smallest population
Dialects Spoken:
Cebuano       -         57.79%
Waray-waray -         40.80%

 

News

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DENR 8 Regional Director Atty. Crizaldy Barcelo accepts the Chairmanship of Eastern Visayas’ Regional Ecotourism Committee (REC) for a three-year term from the Department of Tourism represented by its Officer-In-Charge, Ma. Trinidad Dacuycuy.

Scenic feature of the Cuatro Islas Protected Landscape and Seascape attract local and foreign tourists. To protect the area, the CIPLS PAMB limits its tourists to 500 per day.

Some of the retired key officials and employees of DENR pose for a picture with DENR Regional Director, Atty. Crizaldy Barcelo.

DENR 8 Regional Director Crizaldy M. Barcelo (L) presents Certificates of Recognition to partners in law enforcement for their invaluable support and contributions to environmental law enforcement operations in Eastern Visayas.

Ms. Melba Ariño (center), Land Management Officer of DENR CENRO Pambujan receives award for extending invaluable assistance to the programs of 8ID PA from DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, Commander, 8ID.

Tacloban City communities join this year’s #InternationalCoastalCleanUp activities. DENR Region 8, together with other government agencies and private institutions joined hands in cleaning up the coastal areas and waterways within the city.

DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu recently visited the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of Samar in Catbalogan City. During his interface with DENR employees in Samar province, Secretary Cimatu laid his plans to help reduce poverty. Among these are increasing livelihood opportunities through the Enhanced National Greening Program (E-NGP), reinventing mining to ensure that the country’s mineral resources will benefit the people without compromising the environment, and promoting cacao commodity to augment the livelihood of NGP PO beneficiaries in Samar.

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