Last updated on September 30, 2019
The first settlers around Kidapawan were predominantly Maguindanaon. The influx of Christian settlers from Luzon and the Visayas resulted in the evolution of the word from ‘Tidapawan’ to ‘Kidapawan’. Aside from the Manobos and Christians, Kidapawan was also home to the most prominent Muslims, including a Sultan (Sultan Omar Kiram II) who was a descendant of Rajah Baguinda.
Kidapawan City was created by the Republic Act. No. 8500, signed by President Fidel V. Ramos on February 12, 1998, making it the first component city of Cotabato Province. The Act was ratified by a large majority by a plebiscite on March 21, 1998. It was originally named a district of Pikit.
In 1942, the Japanese Imperial forces entered Kidapawan. Three years later, local Filipino soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary units and Moro guerrilla fighters taken to liberate Kidapawan fought the battles against the Japanese Imperial forces. Kidapawan was later declared a separate municipality by Executive Order No. 82 issued by President Manuel Roxas on August 18, 1947. It thus become the fourth town of the then Empire Province of Cotabato, composed previously of the municipalities of Cotabato (now Cotabato City), Dulawan (later named Datu Piang) and Midsayap.
Created along with the city were the twelve original barangays, namely: Birada, Ginatilan, Indangan, Linangcob, Luvimin, Manongol, Marbel, Mateo, Meohao, Mua-an, Perez, and Sibawan. From the original land area of 273, 262 hectares, Kidapawan retained only 34,007.20 hectares when four municipalities were created from it namely: Magpet (June 22, 1963, R.A. 3721), Matalam (Dec. 29, 1961, E.O. 461), M’lang (Aug. 3, 1951, E.O. 462) and President Roxas (May 8, 1967, R.A. 4869).
Prior to its conversion to a municipality, five appointed District Mayors had served Kidapawan. The first was Datu Siawan Ingkal, tribal chieftain of the Manobos, who headed the Civilian Emergency Administration when World War II broke out. He was followed by Felimon Blanco, Ceferino Villanueva, Jacinto Paclibar, and Alfonso Angeles Sr., who became the first elected mayor of the municipality.
Kidapawan became the provincial capital of Cotabato Province pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 341 dated 22 November 1973, with the provincial seat of government located in Amas. Later, Batas Pambansa No. 660 dated 19 December 1983 renamed the Province of North Cotabato to simply Cotabato. By the time it became the province capital, Kidapawan had already 40 barangays under its geopolitical jurisdiction.