Libungan is a 2nd class municipality located on the central part of the first congressional district of North Cotabato Province. It is bounded on the north by the town of Alamada, on the east by the towns of Carmen and Aleosan, on the south by the town of Midsayap and the Province of Maguindanao, and on the west by the town of Pigcawayan.
It has a total land area of 19,157 hectares and is politically subdivided into 20 barangays. The town hall is located within Barangay Poblacion. The municipality is characterized by varied landscape of flat to scattered hills and mountain ranges such as the Kitubod ranges and Mt. Agkir-Agkir of Demapaco.
The main group of immigrants who settled in the place was the Cebuanos from Cebu. They found the place suitable for them because of its terrain. In the early part of 1930’s more immigrants from Luzon and Visayas come to settle here. During the Second World War, Demapaco became the hideouts of the guerrillas while the Libungan River became the battleground. After the liberation in 1945, more settlers came and cleared the forest and fertile lands for cultivation.
In 1955 many of its residents were elected to the Municipal Council of Midsayap. Through their concerted effort, the Municipal Council of Midsayap passed a resolution addressed to the Provincial Government urging the same to cause the passage of an equivalent resolution addressed to the National Government for the creation of the Municipality of Libungan. Luckily, the Municipality of Libungan was eventually established on August 7, 1961. It was created as a regular municipality with 14 barangays pursuant to Executive Order No. 414 dated January 27, 1961. Years later, the number of barangay increased to 32. But in 1969, some of the progressive barangays were merged to become another municipality, the Municipality of Alamada.
The municipality maintained its 19 barangays, part of which are the former barangays of Midsayap, namely Libungan (Poblacion), Barongis, Cabaruyan, Batiocan, Sinawingan, Baguer, Montay and Demapaco. Other barangays that compose the municipality are Abaga, Cabpangi, Grebona, Gumaga, Kapayawi, Kiloyao, Malengen, Sinapangan, Kitubod, Nicaan and Palakat, which later became inactive. Another barangay was created pursuant to Resolution No. 35 dated December 14, 1978; the barangay of Palao and another is Barangay Ulamian thus the number of barangays comprising the municipality became 20.
Libungan started as a 6th class municipality with an initial budget of P29,000.00 and have collected over thirty four thousand (P34,000.00) at the end of the fiscal year. At present it is classified as a 2nd class municipality.
The first appointed Mayor was Mr. Esmeraldo Cedeño (1961-1964). In 1964, the late Pedro Singayao, Sr. a native of Malitubog, an Agriculturist and a product of American Education as pensionado, was elected as mayor (1964-1967). The second mayor elect was the late Pacifico Dela Serna (1967-1971). He was among the early settlers from Cebu. He was succeeded by his wife, Lucila T. Dela Serna.
The socio-economic advancement of this municipality was affected by the destruction of commercial establishment and the local government building, by fire. The former was on January 16, 1979 and the second was on February 17, 1986.
It was barely a week after the destruction of the municipal hall when the historic EDSA revolution which effected the installation of the new government occurred. Reorganization at all levels was effected upon the assumption to duty of the newly installed President, Mrs. Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.
The Municipality was not exempted from the order of reorganizing the local government unit. Hence, then Mayor Lucila T. Dela Serna was replaced by the newly appointed Mayor Atty. Nestor Q. Quintana; a young lawyer- mayor took his turn in steering the development of the municipality. However, Atty. Nestor Q. Quintana was again replaced by Mrs. Leliosa Agravante Villanueva and then later by Mr. Luden A. Laguting as Officer-In-Charge, when Atty. Quintana run for Mayor in the 1988 election.
In 1988, a new elected Mayor, Hon. Manuel T. dela Serna, the scion of the former dela Serna Mayors was brought into Office. Unfortunately, Mayor Manuel dela Serna was replaced by his vice-mayor, the young and eloquent Manobo Joel D. Humabad, Sr., during the election of 1992. Mayor Humabad held two terms of office because in the May 1998 election he was in turn defeated by his former vice-mayor, the young and charismatic Hon. Ronaldo B. Pader, MD. Mayor Pader held the leadership mantle for 3 terms of office equivalent to 9 years. In the 2007 election, Hon. Manuel T. Dela Serna who held 3 terms of office as Board Member (1998-2007) was able to capture the Mayorship against 3 opponents. In the just concluded May 2010 automated elections, Mayor Manuel T. Dela Serna got landslide victory against a former municipal councilor. In the 2013 election, Mayor Manuel “Maning” T. dela Serna was unopposed and it is his last term of office. In the 2016 election, a former member of the Sangguniang Bayan and a businessman in the person of Christopher M. Cuan was catapulted to the Mayorship.
How Libungan Got Its Name
Libungan in the early times was called by its early settlers in different terms. Originally it was known by its Manobo settlers as “dadas” meaning road down by the river. Generally, Libungan refers to the river of the place. The Manobo’s called it “Limbungan” meaning cheater because during those early times, the river changed its course damaging crops of the farmers in the area. In that way, they were cheated by the river. From then on, it was called Limbungan. “Tubak” is also one of the ancient names of the place, which refers to an “eroding river”. Old accounts also point to a specie of tree that abound in locality according to old Muslim inhabitants.