Brief History

According to the Philippine Regional Natural Resources Atlas, vol. 1, 1990, published by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Municipality of Nueva Era has been placed at approximately 17-56 degrees north latitude by 120-41 degrees north latitude by 120-41 degrees east longitude. It is comprised of eleven barangays. The Atlas reported that Ilocos Norte whose total land area is placed at 339, 934 hectares or 3, 399.34 square kilometers is already 100% land surveyed. The Atlas also reports that Nueva Era has a total land area of 644.7 square kilometers accounting to the biggest share of 18.97% of the total land area of the province of Ilocos Norte.

On January 1, 1916, the chiefs (lallakay) of the eight “rancherias” to from a township. They adopted a resolution requesting Governor General Francis B. Harrison through the Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte and the Honorable Secretary of the Interior for the consolidation of the different rancherias and to be organized into a township. Consequently, the Governor General issued Executive Order No. 66 dated September 30, 1916 for the purpose, ordering the township to become effective starting on July 1, 1916.

Manila, 30 de Septiembre de 1916

No. 66

A propuesta del Honorable Secretario de lo Interior y de la Junta Provincial de Ilocos Norte, y de acuerdo con las disposiciones del articulo dos mil trescientos noventa y uno del codigo Administrative, por la presente se consolidan y organizan en un township las colonias, de Bugayong, Cabittauran, Garnaden, Padpadon, Padsan, Paor-patoc, Tibangran, y Ugui, que sera conocido por el  nombre de township de Nueva Era. El asiento del gobierno del township de Nueva Era redicara en colonia de Bugayong.

La organicacion que aqui se hace se considera como efectuada an primero de julio de mil novecientos diez y seis.

Gobernador General

Translated in English the above paragraph runs thus:

Manila, September 30, 1916


Upon the recommendation of the Honorable Secretary of the Interior and the Provincial Board of  Ilocos Norte, and pursuant to the provisions of section twenty-three hundred and ninity one of the Administrative Code, the settlements of Bugayong, Cabbitaoran, Garnaden, Padpadon, Padsan, Paor-patoc, Tibangran, and Uguis, in the Province of Ilocos Norte, are hereby consolidated and organized into a township to be known as the township government of the township of Nueva Era shall be at the settlement of Bugayong.

This organization is considered effective on July 1, 1916.

Francis Burton Harrison
Governor General

Record shows that the town of Nueva Era originated from the eight rancherias of Bugayong, Cabittaoran (now Cabittauran), Garnaden, Padpadon( now Naguilian), Padsan (now Santo Nino), the combined rancherias  of Paor-patoc, (now Barikir), Acnam , Poblacion, Tibangran (now Barangobong), and Uguis. As stated in the Executive Order, the seat of the township was at Bugayong but was transferred after some years to Paor-patoc because of the scarcity of portable water in Bugayong and has stayed there to date. However, the place is now specifically known as Poblacion.

Governor Harrison was explicit that the name of the new town is Nueva Era, to accommodate the popular request of the people, whose decision to consolidate the different rancherias was on a new year. To them, the new year and the decision marked new era in their lives. Incidentally it coincided with the year (1916) when the Philippine Autonomy Act, also known as Jones Law was passed by the American Congress. It began a new era, by granting the Philippines a complete form of semi-autonomous government. The law defined government functions into executive with the governor general as the head to be appointed by the US president with the consent of the Senate and the legislative power was vested in the elected bicameral legislature the senate and the House of Representatives. The Jones Law was cognizant of provided for the appointment of 2 senators and nine under developed non-Christian areas. Judicial powers were exercised by the Supreme Court and other lower courts with American and Filipino justices.

In conformity with E.O.  No. 66 and in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Code of 1901 (Act. No. 82) the qualified voters of the new township of Nueva Era elected their town officials, namely; the president, the vice president, and the councilors. The first elected president was Calli-bag whose tenure was from 1916 to 1918. It is believed that Calli-bag was still a non-Christian Tinguian even after his term expired in 1918. It should be noted herein that the local government was placed exclusively in Filipino hands conformably with the instruction of the US President and the Municipal Code of 1901 (Act. No. 81) which mandates… the establishment of municipal  governments, in which have native of the islands shall be afforded the opportunity to manage their own local affairs to the fullest extent to which they are capable, and subject to the least degree of supervision and control, which a careful study of their capacities and observations of the workings of native control show to be consistent with the maintenance of law, order and loyalty.

From 1919 to 1941, six (6) people were elected municipal presidents and later were called alcalde who served the local government unit of Nueva Era namely: Hon Santiago Duyan-1919-1921, Hon. Pedro Languisan-1922-1925, Hon. Cipriano Acnam-1926-1929, Hon. Flaviano Gajete 1930-1933, Hon. ………………………………………………1938-1941.

Hampered by over centralization of government functions and financial resources couples with the scarcity of local government funds, the local government of Nueva Era under the guidance of the province of Ilocos Norte the Philippine Commission and later the Commonwealth government, has worked towards government efficiency and economy with emphasis on the following: 1 reverence for law, peace and order, 2. operation of just honest, economical, efficient and strong local government, 3. well-being of the masses particularly the Tinguians, and 4. increasing wealth and economic development.

However, the March of the local government unit of Nueva Era was temporarily halted towards the end of 1941, when the Japanese Imperial government waged war in East Asia including the Philippines, up to the middle of 1945.

It is important to note here that the Tinguians of Nueva Era had resisted every attempt   to subjugate them. Against the liberty of fighting national wars against every colonial rule. The Itneg males offered and volunteered to become guerillas and bolomen while the Itneg women become members of the women’s Auxiliary Service without thought of the cost or material rewards so that the rights of their fellowmen would be preserved.

When the Japanese Imperial Army landed at Laoag Governor Roque B. Ablan refused to extend cooperation to the invaders. He left the provincial capitol of Laoag to avoid being arrested and transferred the seat of government of Carasi which is near the boundary of the province and that of Kalinga-Apayao and led in the organization of guerilla group of Northern Luzon, was organized. On January 28, 1942, the first encounter with the enemy occurred when Ablan-Madamba Guerilla Group successfully ambushed a Japanese died in the encounter. Early morning on the next day, the Japanese sent planes to the towns of Banna and Nueva Era to bomb and strafe the guerillas and civilians.

With the affiliation of small, independent guerilla groups with the Ablan’s outfit, the guerilla movement spread throughout the province. Governor Ablan organized the force into a cohesive unit. He divided Ilocos Norte into several sectors composed of one to three towns each headed and supervised by a guerilla leader. Ablan assigned Vicente Cajigal to take charge Badoc, Pinili and Nueva Era, named Juan  Albano as deputy  governor, designated Lt. Madamba as executive officer, placed Capt. Primo Lazaro and Damaso Samonte as chiefs of the intelligence corps and placed Capt. Pedro Alviar in charge of the counter intelligence unit.

Ablan’s guerillas with the aid of bolomen and civilians had a series of bitter fights against the Japanese. Large forces hunted Ablan and his resistance fighters. Air units dropped leaflets urging him to surrender. He refused to give up the struggle.

On December 10, 1942 Governor Ablan left for Cagayan to confer with Governor Marcelo Adduru, guerilla leader of the province. There was no word from him again. He probably perished during an encounter with the Japanese, or was captured, imprisoned and subsequently executed by the enemy.

During the second world war and Japanese Occupation years, Hon. Eustaquio Lucero and Hon. Cipriano Acnam served as the town’s municipal mayors. During this period Itneg ingenuity and resilience were displayed. The resistance movement, wherein Itnegs were also guerilla members and bolomen ambushed the enemy, conducted intelligence work, and liquidated Japanese spies and collaborators. On the other hand, the Itneg civilians contributed services of all types of capacities such as guides, spies, giving shelter to the Americans and Filipino guerillas, laundrymen or laundrywomen, cooks and carries who which they form a distinct part. The turbulence of World War II gave the people particularly the Itneg a chance to demonstrate their faith in democratic principles, practices and institutions.

After World War II, the government commenced the work of reconstruction and rehabilitation. President Roxas exhorted the whole government machinery at the national and local levels to cooperate on the immediate restoration of peace and order, reconstruction of the damages wrought by the war, restoration of the nation’s moral standard, rehabilitation of the national and local economy and the return of the people’s faith in government. The restoration of peace and order however, remained a hope for it turned from bad to worse, what with so many lose firearms in the possession of the people after liberation.

From 1946 to 1985 the following municipal mayors served Nueva Era: Hon. Ambrosio Gajonera- 1946-1950; Hon. Amador Califlores-1951-1955; Hon. Toribio Ibarra-1956-1960 and Hon. Ulpiano Acnam-1961-1985. Mayor Acnam has the distinction of having served Nueva Era as municipal mayor for more than 24 years.

During this period, life in Nueva Era was characterized by widespread poverty, the setting was generally stagnant, mark by primitive agriculture and lack of jobs. Infrastructures such as feeder roads, schools, water supply for drinking and irrigation were scarce. Delivery of basic services has little effect on the lives of the people. It was a sixth-class municipality.

Local government officials could hardly do anything to these problems because the 1935 Constitution provided for Local government officials could hardly do anything to solve these problems because the 1935 Constitution provided for only exercise power delegated by the central government. The Local Government of Nueva Era therefore depended upon the national government for most of its development needs, receiving a pittance of funds and the result was failure to effect social and economic growth.

Impatience of the people and local officials began to take place because of the slow development. There was mounting clamor for local autonomy, predicated upon the belief that local governments could help themselves more if granted more powers. The government has taken interest in the problems of the poor who make up the majority of the population. It sought to promote social justice and eradicate inequities in the society caused by poverty and to give the people equal access to the fruits of development. Out of this philosophy came a number of policies and programs that sought to improve the quality of life of the nation’s poor. The government through Congress yielded certain of its powers to local governments with the enactment of RA 2264 also known as Local Autonomy Act, RA 5282 Decentralization Act of 1967, RA 2370 and 3590 also known as the Barrio Charter and Revised Barrio Charter respectively.

Several presidential decrees were issued to guarantee local autonomy particularly fiscal capability and fiscal autonomy of local government units, among the most notable were: PD 144 which governs the sharing of local governments in internal revenue allotments; PD 231 provides for the subjects or subjects of local taxation as well as the limitations: PD 464 is a decree on Realty taxation and PD 477 delivers on Local Fiscal Administration. Later, Batas Pambansa 337 otherwise known as the Local Government Code was enacted in January 1983 to guarantee local autonomy.

However, it has been noted these legislations and decrees were not enough to effect, promote and sustain social and economic development. Local Governments do not exercise enough authority commensurate with their increased responsibilities and as a result, they were unable to deliver basic services. On the other hand, the agrarian reform program and the cooperatives development program were total failure. Samahang Nayons were organized in all eleven barangays, however after a few years they became inactive and eventually died their natural death like their predecessor cooperatives. To date, only the Cabittauran Samahang Nayon was able to join the Cooperative Rural Bank of Ilocos Norte.

Hampered by political and economic constraints and the limited financial resources of Nueva Era, development was slow and painful. As Tubangin has written the government provided social services, but it has frequently been too little too late and hence, has limited effect, because of budget limitations of local governments. However, during this period, the local government unit has caused the construction of the Municipal Hall, 2 auditoriums, high school buikdings, several elementary schools, several barangays were given electricity, the Bongo Bridge was constructed and the Naguillian-Garnaden-Bugayong-Uguis-Barangobong Road was opened.

The Hercules Mining Company was established and became operational in 1979 providing jobs to many skilled residents. However, the company stopped its operation in 1982 after three years due to mismanagement.

During the period 1986-1987, the municipality experienced the administration of four officer-in-charge namely: Hon. Cristeta A. Felipe, Hon. Rodrigo Bumactao, Hon. Juanita Acnam and for the scond time Hon. Rodirigo Bumactao.

In the post EDSA elections, political neophyte Hon. Joseph B. Arzadon won the mayoralty position of the municipality, defeating the old political patriarch and multi-termer Hon. Ulpiano Acnam by a margin of more tha four hundred votes. Born in Nueva Era on February 4, 1942, Arzadon studied ate the Araneta University where he finished Bachelor of Science in Forestry. From 1965 to 1988, he was appointed Project Manager at the Bureau of Forest Development.

In the political arena, Arzadon was twice re-elected as Municipal Mayor, in 1992 and in 1995. He was adjudged as one of the Most Outstanding Municipal Mayors of Region I in 1994 and 1995. also, during the same year, the municipality was chosen as one of the most peaceful local government units.

Hon. Joseph B. Arzadon as a mayor, was a brilliant leader, dynamic, astute and sagacious. When he assumed the mayoralty, people pinned hopes on him as he was equally man of wide experiences in public affairs. He announced his desire to improve the social economic well-being of his people. However, the unhealthy and disruptive tendency of the local government unit to depend upon the national government for most of their budget needs continued. When he assumed office in 1988, the municipality had a budget of only P900, 916.93. With the implementation of the Local Government Code in 1992, the municipality increased its budget to P5, 476,079.56 or an increase of 50% within the span of five years. In 1998, the total budget amounted to P17, 720, 785.02. Unfortunately, he had to bow out as mandated by law in 1998, but with the distinction as Hall of Farmer Municipal Mayor, having been elected for three consecutive terms.

From  a sixth class municipality, the local government unit has metamorphosed and was classified as a fourth class municipality in 1998 owing to the increase of income both from local sources and internal revenue shares.

With the increase of income, the municipality has bought and acquired the following equipment: 2 dump trucks, 1 pay loader, 1 grader, 1 bulldozer, 1 truck backhoe, 1 transit mixer and 1 bagger mixer. Said equipments are used in the locality’s road and bridges construction and maintenance. The following were also acquired: 1 ambulance. 1 hi-lux pick-up, 1 isuzu Elf and 1 Generator set KVA.

Judiciously using its budget coupled by funds from the Congressmen, Senators and national agencies which was a result of Arzadon’s untiring solicitation actvities, the municipality has caused the construction of the following: 11 Water systems, market and slaughterhouse, PNP building, 11-day care centers, 11 Brgy. Halls, ABC Halls, two 3 room school building, warehouse, ABC hall, 5 small water impounding projects, 11 multipurpose pavements/solar dryers, 10 small farm reservoirs, tribal hall, municipal hall interior and exterior finishing, expansion of the Municipal Hall, High SchoolBuildings, High School concrete fencing, Pinili-Nueva Era-Banna road concreting, 12 kilometers. Nueva Era -Abra Road, Municipal Auditorium Phase 1, 2 kilometers of Uguis-Lasien road, 7 kilometers of Uguis-Barangobong road repair and maintenance and many other projects.

Hon. Caroline M. Arzadon succeeded her father as Municipal Mayor of Nueva Era after the elections in 1998. She won the mayoralty position, defeating lawyer and three termer Sangguniang Bayan Member, Jerry Alejandro, by a margin of less than two hundred votes. She has the distinction of being the youngest and the first elected female-mayor of Nueva Era. She was only 23 years old when she assumed office. Born in Palla, Vintar on December 27 1974, Arzadon studied at the Mariano Vintar, on December 27, 1974, Arzadon, studied at the Mariano Marcos State University, College of Business, Economics and accountancy (CBEA) Batac Campus, where she finished Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She is intellectually and professionally prepared for the mayoralty, being a graduate in business administration. In addition to that she had behind her, 6 years of public service. At the age of 17, she was elected Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman of her barangay.  Eventually she became ex-officio Sangguniang barangay member and ex-officio Sangguniang Bayan member of the municipality, at the same time having won the presidency of the Municipal Sangguniang Kabataan Federation election. Subsequently, she was elected SK Secretary for the SK provincial federation, province of Ilocos Norte.

She became the barangay chairman of Poblacion at the age 22 in 1997 and eventually became again an ex-officio Sangguniang Bayan Member of the Municipality having won the presidency of the Association of Barangay Council Federation election at the municipal level. Arzadon, besides young and stunning, is vigorous and she possesses the sagacity of her father.

Mayor Arzadon started her administration very auspiciously. She was the choice of the people; hence, she is well supported by the barangay people, barangay officials, non-government and people’s organizations, and the municipality’s rank and file including the legislative branch of the local government unit. Political opponents have been almost quiet already and they appear ready to cooperate with anything constructive in the new administration of Mayor Caroline M. Arzadon.