Coordinates: 6°30′N 124°51′E / 6.5°N 124.85°E / 6.5; 124.85
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from SOCCSKSARGEN)

Region XII
Shoreline of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat
Asik-Asik Falls, North Cotabato
The Placid Lake of Lake Sebu
Koronadal City Hall
Left to right, top to bottom: Sarangani Bay; shoreline of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato; Lake Sebu; and General Santos, the Commerce and Industrial Center of Region 12
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 6°30′N 124°51′E / 6.5°N 124.85°E / 6.5; 124.85
Island groupMindanao
Regional centerCotabato City (until 2004)
Koronadal (since 2004)
Largest cityGeneral Santos
 • Total22,513.30 km2 (8,692.43 sq mi)
Highest elevation2,450 m (8,040 ft)
 (2020 census)[1]
 • Total4,360,974
 • Density190/km2 (500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ISO 3166 codePH-12
Barangays1,195 (1,095)
Congressional Districts in Soccsksargen Region8
GDP (2021)503 billion
$10 billion[2]
Growth rateIncrease (5.2%)[2]
HDIIncrease 0.685 (Medium)
HDI rank14th in the Philippines (2019)

Soccsksargen (officially stylized in all caps;[3] [sokˈsardʒɛn]), formerly known as Central Mindanao, is an administrative region of the Philippines, designated as Region XII. Located in south-central Mindanao, its name is an acronym that stands for the region's four provinces and one highly urbanized city (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos). The regional center is in Koronadal, located in the province of South Cotabato, and the center of commerce and industry is General Santos, which is the most populous city in the region.


The region is bounded on the north by Northern Mindanao, on the east by the Davao Region, and on the southwest by the Celebes Sea. The region also shares a maritime border with Gorontalo and North Sulawesi provinces of Indonesia. The province of Maguindanao is situated between Cotabato City, North Cotabato province, and Sultan Kudarat.

The region has extensive coastlines, valleys and mountain ranges. Known for its river system, the region is the drainage basin of Mindanao, particularly at the Cotabato Basin, a large depression surrounded by mountain ranges on three sides.[4][5] Within the basin runs the Rio Grande de Mindanao, the longest river in Mindanao and the second longest in the Philippines. The river empties into Illana Bay of the larger Moro Gulf at the west of Cotabato City.

At the south of the basin lie the Tiruray Highlands, a moderately high mountain range blocking the basin from the southern coastline.[4] Southeast of the mountains lie the Sarangani Bay.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map of Region XII


Soccsksargen comprises 4 provinces, 1 highly urbanized city, 3 component cities, 45 municipalities and 1,195 barangays.

Province or City Capital Population (2015)[1] Area[6][7] Density Cities Muni. Barangay
km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
 Cotabato Kidapawan City 30.4% 1,379,747 9,008.90 3,478.36 150 390 1 17 543 [8]
Sarangani Alabel 12.0% 544,261 3,601.25 1,390.45 150 390 0 7 141
 South Cotabato Koronadal City 20.1% 915,289 3,935.95 1,519.68 230 600 1 10 199
 Sultan Kudarat Isulan 17.9% 812,095 5,298.34 2,045.70 150 390 1 11 249
 General Santos 13.1% 594,446 492.86 190.29 1,200 3,100 26
Total 4,545,276 22,786.08 8,797.75 200 520 5 45 1,195 [9][10]
  •  †  General Santos is a highly urbanized city; figures are excluded from South Cotabato.
Governors and vice governors[edit]
Province Image Governor Political Party Vice Governor
Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza Nacionalista Efren Piñol
Rogelio Pacquiao PCM Elmer de Peralta
Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. PFP Arthur Yusay Pingoy
Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu Lakas Raden Camlian Sakaluran


Component cities[edit]

Highly urbanized city[edit]

  • General Santos — a highly urbanized city, it serves as the center of the Metropolitan and Regional Center for trade and industry of Soccsksargen.
  •  †  Regional center
Rank City Area
as of 2020
Tax collection
as of 2012[11]
as of 2015
Income class
1. General Santos 492.86 697,315 P1.175 billion Php 1,086.25 million 1st
2. Koronadal 277.00 195,398 P917 million
(including South Cotabato)
Php 504.77 million 3rd
3. Kidapawan 358.47 160,791 P554 million
(including Cotabato Province)
Php 509.68 million 3rd
4. Tacurong 153.40 109,319 P555 million
(including Sultan Kudarat Province)
Php 350.57 million 4th


The oldest civilization in the region is located in Maitum, Sarangani, where the Maitum Anthropomorphic Pottery were found. The jars have been declared as National Cultural Treasures, and are subject to the high protections ensured by Philippine and international laws.

From the middle of the 14th century to 1905, the Sultanate of Buayan dominated the Soccsksargen region, influencing the local datus in the area as well as having General Santos City under its direct control as a port.

Central Mindanao[edit]

The region used to be named Central Mindanao. Prior to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), it comprised the following provinces:

With the creation of ARMM, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao (excluding Cotabato City), and Sultan Kudarat were removed from the region, leaving Lanao del Norte and Cotabato, and Iligan, Marawi and Cotabato City as constituent provinces and cities.[12] Lanao del Norte and Iligan were later transferred to Northern Mindanao, while Marawi became part of the ARMM.

On December 18, 1998, Sultan Kudarat was transferred back to Central Mindanao through Republic Act No. 8744.[13]


In September 2001, Executive Order No. 36 was signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo transferring South Cotabato, Sarangani, General Santos (also known as the SocSarGen District), from Southern Mindanao to Region XII, and renaming the region, from Central Mindanao, to Soccsksargen.[3][14]

Koronadal as new regional center[edit]

By virtue of Executive Order No. 304 signed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Koronadal was named as the regional political and socio-economic center of Soccsksargen on March 30, 2004. Regional departments, bureaus and offices were ordered to move from Cotabato City, the former regional center of the region.

Special Cotabato barangays and Cotabato City exit[edit]

Traditionally resisting efforts for inclusion to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao despite serving as the government center of the ARMM, the January 21, 2019 Bangsamoro Autonomous Region creation plebiscite resulted in the surprise ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in Cotabato City. This means the city may now formally serve as the capital of the region and the offices of the former ARMM will be retained for use by the Bangsamoro Regional Government and now formally no longer constitutes part of the Soccsksargen Region.

In addition to Cotabato City, 63 barangays in Cotabato province opted to join Bangsamoro, thus exiting the region as well.


Population census of Soccsksargen
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 34,729—    
1918 67,561+4.54%
1939 124,035+2.94%
1948 147,037+1.91%
1960 567,032+11.90%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1970 1,125,779+7.09%
1975 1,297,981+2.90%
1980 1,638,856+4.77%
1990 2,272,888+3.33%
1995 2,700,187+3.28%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2000 3,058,320+2.71%
2007 3,571,347+2.16%
2010 3,837,785+2.65%
2015 4,245,838+1.94%
2020 4,360,974+0.53%
Data includes Cotabato City, which is now part of Bangsamoro.
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[1]


2 storey bridge connecting KCC mall of Gensan and Veranza mall

The region contributes to the national GDP with 2.6% with 5% growth compared to 2016. 18.3% of Mindanao Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP).[22]

Musical heritage[edit]

Maguindanaon Kulintang exhibited in Old Cotabato City Hall Museum

The artistic cultural heritage of the native Maguindanao people, among other regional groups—both Muslims and Catholics—revolves around kulintang music, a specific type of gong music. Unique to the Soccsksargen, elements of kulintang may be loosely compared to Indonesia’s gamelan music, and other related traditional performance arts.



  1. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region XII (Soccsksargen)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Gross Regional Domestic Product". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Executive Order No. 36; Providing for the Reorganization of the Administrative Regions in Mindanao and for Other Purposes". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Malacañang, Manila, Philippines. September 19, 2001. Retrieved March 29, 2016. SECTION 4. Region XII is hereby reorganized to be known as SOCCSKSARGEN and shall be composed of the following provinces and cities: a. Provinces i. North Cotabato ii. Sarangani iii. South Cotabato iv. Sultan Kudarat b. Cities i. Cotabato City ii. General Santos City iii. Kidapawan City iv. Koronadal City v. Tacurong City
  4. ^ a b Wernstedt, Frederick L.; Spencer, Joseph Earl (1978). The Philippine Island World: A Physical, Cultural, and Regional Geography. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 32-37. ISBN 9780520035133. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  5. ^ Hinz, Erhard (1985). Human Helminthiases in the Philippines the Epidemiological and Geomedical Situation. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. pp. 129–131. ISBN 9783642708411. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  6. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "List of Cities". PSGC Interactive. Makati, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  8. ^ Punzalan, Noel (November 20, 2019). "NoCot 'officially' turns over 63 villages to BARMM". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  9. ^ Ropero, Gillan (December 15, 2020). "Cotabato City formally joins Bangsamoro gov't". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Cabrera, Ferdinand H. (December 15, 2020). "Cotabato City now officially part of Bangsamoro region". GMA News. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  11. ^ Zonio, Aquiles Z. (November 27, 2012). "Central Mindanao PH's top tax revenue generator next to Metro Manila". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "2000 Census of Population and Housing; Central Mindanao: Literacy Rate at 87 Percent". Philippine Statistics Authority. December 9, 2002. Retrieved March 29, 2016. As of May 1, 2000, the total population of Central Mindanao which covers the provinces of Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat; and the cities of Iligan, Marawi and Cotabato, was 2,598,210 persons.
  13. ^ "Republic Act No. 8744". Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  14. ^ "Southern Mindanao Is Now All Davao Region". RDC XI Bulletin. No. Oct-Dec 2001, Volume 7. National Statistical Coordination Board. January 29, 2002. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016. Southern Mindanao or Region XI is now known as Davao Region and comprises four provinces (Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental) and five cities (Davao, Digos, Panabo, Tagum and the Island Garden City of Samal. Said provinces and cities are situated along the Davao Gulf area. South Cotabato, Sarangani, General Santos City (SOCSARGEN) and Koronadal City, which were part of the old Region XI) have been transferred to Region XII.
  15. ^ "Poverty incidence (PI):". Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "Estimation of Local Poverty in the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. November 29, 2005.
  17. ^ "2009 Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines" (PDF). Philippine Statistics Authority. February 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  19. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  20. ^ "Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population, by Region and Province: 1991, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "Updated Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold, Poverty Incidence and Magnitude of Poor Population with Measures of Precision, by Region and Province: 2015 and 2018". Philippine Statistics Authority. June 4, 2020.
  22. ^ NEDA launches regional dev't plan in SOCCSKSARGEN. July 14, 2017.

External links[edit]