The 1920’s were the golden years in the history of Hinigaran. There was a boast in the sugar industry. Progress in education communication and transportation were evident. The efficient of Public School System of the American contributed to the opening of various schools in the barrios. Hinigaran Institute, one of the first private secondary schools in the province was founded in 1922 by Don Segundo Monteblanco to educate poor ambitious youths of Hinigaran. Postal and telegraphic services on the otherhand were noted for their fast and reliable delivery of information. Progress in infrastructure, like roads and bridges was attained. The present Municipal Hall, a massive structure dominating the landscape of the poblacion was constructed in 1936 under the administration of Mayor Ricardo Lagtapon.
In 1920, cholera-eltor epidemic struck Hinigaran causing a great loss of human lives. Doctor were few of medicines were scarce. It is reported that cartloads of the victims of cholera hauled to the cemetery and buried in a common grave without the benefit of decent burials. The advent of sugar industry in Negros occidental gave rise to the formation of labor unions. In 1925, a worker’s union called “ Kusog sang Imol “ (Strength of the Poor) was organized Negros Occidental by Felix Severino, a Bacolod journalist and politician to protect the workers from exploitation and abuses and to work for the benefits of the working class.
The planters, on the otherhand, also organized a mutual and society known as “Mainawaon “(The Compassionate) to fight back against the “Kusog sang Imol”.
The “Kusog sang Imol“ was led by Felipe C. Lagtapon Sr., while the “Mainawaon was led by Salvador Maglalona.
A strong rivalry ensued between the two groups leading to incidence of physical violence, the Mainawaon provoking the Kusog sang Imol in to a fight, resulting to death of a certain Vargas. The Mainawaon eventually disbanded with the collapse of Kusog sang Imol after the departure of Severino from leadership of “Kusog sang Imol”
The boom of sugar industry in the decades of fifties and sixties led to the resurgence of the unions. Maximo Peralta organized the Allied Workers Association (AWA) in 1947, while Pascual Espinosa organized the Consolidated Labor Union of the Philippines (CLUP). Due to the intense rivalry of local labor leaders, the CLUP was split in two groups – one headed by Cenen Magallona and the other group is headed by Laureano Laurel. Bag loading of sugar from the BISCOM Dock to Vistranco barges was done HWA workers while the shores loading from the barges to the foreign vessels was done by the members of the CLUP. The installation of bulk sugar conveyor at BISCOM Dock spelled the death of the labor unions. Hundreds of workers of the AWA and the CLUP were displaced and many became jobless.
When the Pacific War broke out, Hinigaranons took to the hills when organized resistance collapsed. They regrouped and organized into guerilla units. Under Captain Camagon, Captain Jose Ramos, and Lt. Lacson, they ambushed a Japanese patrol on September 21, 1943 at Sitio Camatio, Brgy. Aranda and inflicted heavy casualties to the enemies.
Another encounter took place in Brgy. Narauis on March 14, 1944 when the guerillas under Lt. Eddie Bauman, a PMA cadet at the outbreak of the war, and later became the Hero Officer at the Battle Knob Hill ambushed unit and killed and undetermined number of enemies.
During the early days of Japanese occupation, the seat of the civil government under Mayor Gonzaga in 1942 was transferred in Sitio Dungca-an, Brgy. Nanunga. Then Maximo Mombay became acting Mayor and transferred to seat of government to Brgy. Himaya.
When the civil government of Negros Occidental was organized by Governor Alfredo Montelibano, Sr., former mayor Ricardo Lagtapon was appointed Mayor of free Hinigaran. He transferred the seat of government to Brgy. Candumarao until the liberation of Negros. Adolfo Ramos was name Mayor of the Japanese Sponsored Puppet Government and he was later succeeded by Segundo Monteblanco, who remain mayor until the American Liberation.
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