:: American Period
THE ARRIVAL OF THE AMERICANS - (THE FORTUNE THAT BROUGHT THE AMERICANS AND FILIPINOS TOGETHER) - At the beginning, it was believed that the Americans were our allies. We understood and befriended them; instead, they had intentions to retain us under their rule for many years.
From the very beginning of the American rule in this island, Americans made us understand that they came to train and educate the people in the science of self-government.
On January 4, 1899, a new government was born to the Philippines. With instructions from then President Mckinley, General Otis who commanded US Army in the Philippines declared that the American sovereignty must be recognized without condition. This was the beginning of the American period.
It may be recalled that this island-group had not taken any active participation in the revolution against Spain or America. However, after the Filipino-American War, a reactionary group was organized and was headed by PATORETE of Santa Fe, a barrio then of Bantayan. Their announced purpose was to resist against the invaders. The armed goons carried a campaign of terror burning the northern part of Santa Fe, plundering and forcing Capitan Miroy (CASIMIRO BATIANCILA) and Aguido Batobalonos to join them. This resulted in great fear and tension among the inhabitants.
The conditions of the barrios, after the overthrow, and immediately preceding the arrival of the Americans, in general, was very far from satisfactory. Sanitation was entirely a stranger, barrio life was dreadful. There was a rare sign of improvement among the people from its primitive ancestors.
PROGRESS UNDER THE AMERICANS - Ten years is a brief period as measured by the usual progress of society, but in colonial administration it has frequently happened that great changes have not waited upon a long lapse of time. So, a decade of cooperative efforts is long enough to achieve satisfactory results.
The subdivision of the province of Cebu was developed utilizing the method introduced by Spain. A new provincial law was earlier enacted and necessary appointments were then made. At that time, Bantayan was already organized as "PUEBLO". Years later, Santa Fe, was organized as such in 1911 and Madridejos in 1917. These "PUEBLOS" were given a new corporate form under the Municipal Council chosen by a limited native electorate. For the local head of the administration, the title "PRESIDENTE" took the place of the former "GOVERNADORCILLO" or "CAPITAN".
Committed to the task of reigning, the newly organize municipal governments were the first "PRESIDENTES" of these three towns comprising the island-group namely: Gregorio Escario for Bantayan, Vicente Bacolod for Madridejos and Casimiro Batiancila for Santa Fe.
Political parties were formally organized since the early days of the American regime. Partido Liberal came about the end of 1900, between 1902 and 1905. Pascual Poblete organized the Nacionalista Party for which few Bantayanons welcomed.
THE FIRST FORMAL EDUCATION
On January 21, 1901, the Commission enacted an organic law in order to centralize the administration of all public schools in the Bureau of Education. Because of the cholera epidemic in 1902-1903, the public schools in this island-group were able to function in 1904. The Spanish schools were demolished and replaced with new buildings for English Classes.
Among the important laws which benefited this locality are the Municipal Code and the Gabaldon Act. The Municipal Code was framed by the American Government but without any substantial difference with regards to the one used during the Spanish time. The Gabaldon Act, the first law passed by the Philippine Assembly provided a million pesos for barrio schools. Bantayan was one of the recipients of the benefits provided for in this law which was applied to build the Bantayan Central Elementary School and was finished in 1914.
FORTUITOUS EVENTS DURING THIS PERIOD
Severe epidemic of cholera swept this island-group in 1902-1903 and another in 1930. Smallpox which attacked this island-group at about the same time was totally controlled in 1908 thru complete vaccination of the populace. Three disastrous typhoons also occurred during this period, first in 1905, the second in 1912 and the third in 1937. Of these three the second took hundreds of lives in addition to work animals and agricultural crops that were totally damaged.