History of Makati City

In the pre-Spanish era, Makati was ruled by Lakan Tagkan and his wife Bouan. The area was then predominated by swamps and cogon grass overlooking the banks of the Pasig River. It was Don Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the founder of Manila and first governor-general of the Philippines, who first spotted the area. Legaspi asked the name of the place and because of the language barrier, this was misinterpreted by the natives. Thus, pointing to the receding tide of the Pasig River, the natives answered “Makati na, Kumati na,” referring to the “ebbing tide.”

Between the years 1578 to 1670, Makati was a “vista” or a district of Santa Ana de Sapa under the jurisdiction of a Franciscan priest named Pedro De Alfaro. Its second name was San Pedro de Makati, which was derived in honor of its patron saint. At times, the town was called “Sampiro,” a corruption of its name San Pedro. In 1890, San Pedro de Makati was decreed a public town of Manila.

The peace treaty of 1900, ending the Filipino American War, saw Makati under a municipal president.

The Philippine Commonwealth Act No. 137 dated June 11, 1901 incorporated San Pedro de Makati into the province of Rizal. Two years later, a town administrator was installed to supervise the affairs of the community.

After the turn of the century, Makati remained a third class agricultural community wherein the means of livelihood came from cultivated rice and horse fodder.

In 1914, the Philippine Legislature Act No. 2390 changed the name of San Pedro de Makati to Makati, which has remained its official name. The year 1962 saw the construction of a new municipal building for the local administration of Makati. It was erected on a two-hectare lot donated by the Ayala Securities Corporation. Makati had comprised three areas: the new town of Makati; the old communities not owned previously or at present by the Ayala Corporation; and the Fort Bonifacio.

The new town of Makati was attributed to the Ayalas who had been closely adhering to their master plan of developing Makati into the most modern community in the country. It was forty years ago when the first of its modern communities, Forbes Park, was opened to attract affluent families, foreign capitalists, business tycoons industrial titans. Now, it boasts of six (6) affluent villages with defined residential zones, steel and concrete avenues, first class facilities and services, ultra-modern skyscrapers, and convenient commercial and recreational facilities. More than one third of the total land area of the city is located in new Makati.

Beyond the fences of the affluent villages, however, lay the old town of Makati. It was a typical urban center composed of 17 crowded barangays where the remnants of history were still visible in a hodge-podge of factories, establishments, century-old schools, and modern churches.

These two extreme contrasts of the Makati community compelled a writer to describe it as an “artificially inseminated society because it was never left alone to conceive itself.”

The area of Fort Bonifacio, on the other hand, was composed of barangays Cembo, South Cembo, Comembo, East Rembo, Pembo, Pitogo, Post Proper North, Post Proper South, Rizal and West Rembo. It had a total land area of 5.4436 square kilometers, with 4.4027 square kilometers used by the military.
During the last years of the Marcos administration, the City of Makati became the familiar ground for numerous protest rallies and marches of the various opposition groups. It was in Makati, particularly the stretch of Ayala, where the confetti revolution started. Major rallies held in Makati were greeted by confetti made of shredded yellow pages of phone directories. Ugarte Field replaced Plaza Miranda as the frequent venue of many public rallies to express the people’s indignation against the late President Marcos and his government.

The City of Makati had been governed by seventeen (17) Administrators from the early 1901 up to the present (Annex 1). During the past two decades, development efforts have been concertedly undertaken, resulting in the face-lifting of Makati’s “old town” and the emergence of its “new town”.

After the February Revolution, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Atty. Jejomar C. Binay to take the reins of the Makati government. Considered as a human rights advocate, Mayor Binay started the rehabilitation and restructuring of the local government set-up to promote better delivery of services to the community. The impact of his initial measures earned him the mandate of the people. Mayor Binay was duly elected as the town’s 16th administrator in the local elections of January 1988. In the May 1992 elections, he was re-elected as the town’s local chief executive.

The year 1995 was one of the most the significant periods for the administration of Mayor Binay and the local populace of Makati. It was in this year that the conversion of the Municipality of Makati into a highly urbanized city took effect with the signing of Republic Act 7854 by President Fidel V. Ramos on January 2, 1995 followed by the overwhelming approval of the residents in a plebiscite held on February 4, 1995. As provided by the City Charter, Makati is now divided into two congressional districts that correspond to the two existing districts created by Republic Act No. 7166, as implemented by the Commission on Elections, except that barangays Magallanes, Forbes Park and DasmariƱas are now in District I in lieu of barangay Guadalupe Viejo, which became part of District II.

The 1991 Local Government Code limits the term of all elected local government officials to only three consecutive terms. This provision, however, did not hamper the continuance of Mayor Jojo Binay’s brand of public service.

In 1998, the mayor passed the torch to his wife, Dr. Elenita S. Binay, a doctor of medicine, who was overwhelmingly elected by the local populace to become the 17th Mayor and the ‘First Woman Chief Executive’ of Makati City. It was during her administration that the city won the Philippine Quality Award (PQA) Commitment to Quality for exemplary organizational performance. Makati was the only LGU which won the award in year 2000.
The mayoral election held on May 2001 gave another opportunity for Mayor Jejomar C. Binay to continue his leadership as the city’s top public official. It was during this term that the City of Makati won international and local acclaim for its noteworthy programs. The Makati Health Program, popularly known as “Yellow Card,” won the Dubai International “Best Practices” Award for 2002, a joint project of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and the Municipality of Dubai, for its “outstanding contributions towards improving the living environment.”
Makati likewise reinforced its claim as the country’s leader in e-governance thru information technology when its official website, www.makati.gov.ph, won the much coveted Philippine E-Government Award by the Philippine Internet Commerce Society in 2002.

Radyo Makati, a regular Sunday radio program on DWIZ hosted by Mayor Binay and Vice Mayor Ernesto S. Mercado from 7:30am to 9:00am, was awarded the Jaime Cardinal Sin Serviam Award for “Outstanding Community Service in the Promotion of Christian Values” in the 2004 Catholic Mass Media Awards.

In the area of peace and order, the city gained many milestones thru various recognitions earned by its peacekeeping bodies. The Makati City Peace and Order Council made it to the “Hall of Fame” for the second time when the National Police Commission named it the Best City Peace and Order Council in the Highly Urbanized Category from 2002 to 2004, a title which the Council held from 1995 to 1997.

Likewise, the Makati Police Station was adjudged the best in the country in 2004, and won the Patrol 117 Award for Best Crime Responder given by the Philippine National Police. The Makati Fire Station was also named Best Fire Station in the National Capital Region in 2004.

In the Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Program of the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center, Makati was cited as the Most Dynamic City in 2004, and one of the Top Five Performing Cities in 2005.

The year 2006 marked the conferment of more prestigious distinctions on the mayor and his city. Mayor Binay was named among the Top Ten World Mayors in 2006, ranking fourth out of 677 mayors from Asia, U.S.A., Europe and South America in an internet-based survey aimed to promote strong cities and good governance.

The Makati City Disaster Coordinating Council (MCDCC) was a recipient of the 2006 Gawad Kalasag award in the Highly Urbanized/Independent City category. In giving the award, the National Disaster Coordinating Council cited the Makati Rescue, a widely recognized component of the MDCC that renders both medical and technical support services, and the Makati C3 EARS (Command, Control & Communication Emergency Alert and Response System) Center, a mini-911 capable of receiving and responding to emergency calls anywhere in Makati on a 24/7 basis.

The primordial importance given by the city government to the welfare of its young constituents, as demonstrated by its outstanding programs promoting their holistic development, was duly recognized when Makati won the 2006 and 2007 Presidential Award for Most Child-Friendly City in the National Capital Region.


Source: Makati Government

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