|The name Samar refers both to the
island and its oldest of three provinces. The Jesuits, who established a settlement on the
island in 1596, established the province of Samar which encompassed the whole island. On
November 9, 1965, a plebiscite overwhelmingly approved Republic Act 4221 creating the
provinces of Northern and Eastern Samar. For a brief while, the province was referred to
as Western Samar but was officially reverted back to its old nameon June 21, 1969 by
Republic Act 5650.
The Samar Provincial Capitol
Today, Samar has 25 municipalities and the chartered city of Calbayog. Most of these towns are along the coast. The land is
characterized by rolling hills and rich fertile valleys. It has a much lower highland
system than the other provinces in the region. Much of the land however remains barren.
Compared to the two other provinces in the island, Samar is
perhaps the most developed in terms of infrastructure and industry. Communication
facilities in the province continue to improve with Catbalogan
(the capital town) and Calbayog City now with direct national and international links.
Samar however has the worst stretch of main road in the entire region with its
perenially-under-construction, poorly-cemented national highway linking the province to
the rest of the country. Recently, a major highway was opened linking the southern towns
of the province to the rest of the region.
In the 70s and 80s, several mining and logging
companies devastated Samars lush forests. Its seas, primarily Maqueda Bay
one of the richest fishing grounds in the country in the 70s, is dying mainly
due to over-fishing. Today however, heightened environmenal awareness among the people has
somehow arrested this degradation although full rehabilitation of its natural resource
base is still far from realization.
Samar province has the largest population and growh rate of
the three provinces in the island. This puts great strain on its very finite resources.
Several special development programs in the province have so far failed to significantly
improve the peoples economic life as Samar remains to be one of the poorest
provinces in the country.
For more detailed information about Samar Province, please
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