General Santos (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa General Santos; Filipino: Lungsod ng Heneral Santos), also known as Dadiangás, and abbreviated G.S.C. or GenSan) is thesouthernmost city in the Philippines. Classified as a highly-urbanized first class city, General Santos is the 15th most populous city in the country with 538,086 inhabitants as per census data of 2010. The city is bounded by municipalities of Sarangani Province namely Alabel in the east, and Maasim in the south. General Santos is likewise bounded by the South Cotabato municipality of Polomolok and Sarangani Province municipality of Malungon in the north, and the municipality of T'boli in the west. General Santos City is part of the SOCCSKSARGEN region.
Organized under the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) of the Commonwealth Government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon, General Paulino Santos led the relocation of 62 Christian settlers from Luzon to the shores of Sarangani Bay aboard the steam ship “Basilan” of Compania Maritima on February 27, 1939. The 62 pioneers (mostly agricultural and trade graduates) were the first big batch of settlers to land in GenSan with the mission to industriously cultivate GenSan's fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon and the Visayashave subsequently migrated into the area. This started the displacement of some native B'laan tribe to the mountains and lost their livelihood.
The Blaan people are the original settlers of GenSan which they called Dadiangasduring the time. The B’laans live a nomadic way of life in and around GenSan. Evidence of their early occupancy are the names of the places in the city which were derived from their native terms. One significant name is Dadiangas (Ziziphus spina-christi), their native call for a tree which has thorns on its trunk and stems that abundantly thrive in GenSan during the time. Under Indigenous Peoples Right Act IPRA law RA 8371, these Dadiangas trees are now protected and it is proven under the Philippine jurisprudence of the Supreme Court. In the present time, the B'laan tribe live side by side in harmony with the new generation of settlers and other immigrants.
In March 1939, the first formal settlement in the city was established in ’’Alagao’’ which is now known as Barangay Lagao. Lagao district was known then as the “Municipal District of Buayan” under the jurisdiction of the deputy governor of the Municipal District of Glan. Until it officially became an independent Municipal District of Buayan on October 1, 1940 appointing Datu Sharif Zainal Abedin—an Arab mestizo married to a daughter of a very influential datu of lower Buayan—as the first district municipal mayor.
One year after the mark of Philippine Independence from the Americans on July 4, 1946, the Municipality of Buayan became a 4th class regular municipality by virtue of the Executive Order Number 82, dated August 18, 1947 by President Manuel Roxas, absorbing the Municipal District of Glan whose low income bracket at the time disqualified it for the honor. Dadiangas was the seat of government for the Municipality of Buayan electing Irineo Santiago as its first Municipal Mayor on a local election that was held on November 11, 1947. Mayor Santiago was formally inducted on January 1, 1948.
Six years later, in June 1954, the Municipality of Buayan was renamed General Santos as a tribute to its great pioneer. This was made possible by Republic Act No. 1107authored by Congressman Luminog Mangelen of Cotabato Province.
From 1963 to 1967, during the incumbency of Mayor Lucio A. Velayo, an upsurge in the municipality's economy was experienced as several large agri-based and multi-national corporations such as Dole Philippines, General Milling Corporation and UDAGRI have expanded into the area. Although it was then qualified to become a fourth class city from being a municipality, the residents rejected a move by Congressman Salipada Pendatun to convert the Municipality of Buayan into a city and to rename it ’’Rajah Buayan’’.
Finally, on July 8, 1968, upon the approval of Republic Act No. 5412, which was authored by the late Congressman James L. Chiongbian, the Municipality of General Santos was converted into a city while keeping its name. It was inaugurated on September 5 of that year. Antonio C. Acharon became its first city mayor. In 1988, two decades after its inauguration, it was declared as a highly-urbanized city of South Cotabato