The recorded history of Santo Tomas showed that in 1950 it was classified as one of the barrios of the Municipality of Kapalong, Davao del Norte. Back then, the area was a lush forest inhabited by the indigenous community of Aetas locally known as “Ata”.

The original name of the Municipality is “Tibal-og”, derived from an Aeta word for pig that is “Balo-og”. According to folktale a native Ata went hunting in the wilderness, shot a wild pig that fell down a creek. The natives butchered the pig on the creek and a man passed by and asked them the name of the creek. Without giving much thought they replied “Balo-og”. Later, the passerby recalled the name of the creek that traverses the settlements of the natives and others pronounced it “Kibalo-og” which eventually became Tibal-og.

According to pioneering residents, during the pre-war period the plains of the municipalities of Kapalong and Panabo were planted to abaca. The entry of the Philippine Abaca Development Company (PADCO) paved the way for the clearing of frontier communities for settlement and cultivation purposes. Swidden farming or “kaingin” grew rampant. As the cleared-areas turned into settlements and were gradually occupied by the lowland migrants, the hill tribes moved deeper into the hinterlands. Meanwhile, the abacas were infested resulting to the gradual phase-out of the industry.

The Davao Penal Colony (DAPECOL) then under the Bureau of Prisons (now Bureau of Corrections), applied for a concession to log the forest area to generate additional income for the sustainability of its operations. It was granted Original Timber License No. 1042 – 54 on May 9, 1955 and it also segregated a reservation (GSS–300 and 424–D) for settlement purposes. The late President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 132 mandating the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) to manage and control the settlement project.

The settlement area was located extensively in the two barangays of the municipality of Kapalong, Barangays Tibal-og and La Libertad covering a total of 7,255 hectares. The government started to distribute lands to the landless farmers at 5 hectares each. Such program of the national government attracted migrants from Luzon, Visayas and other regions of Mindanao. The reservation area eventually turned into progressive human settlements and made Tibal-og a promising center of agriculture and trade. In the light of this development, President Carlos P. Garcia created a new municipality out of the municipalities of Kapalong and Panabo by virtue of Executive Order No. 352 dated August 14, 1959. The late Governor Vicente P. Duterte of the undivided Province of Davao, the father of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, named the new town as Santo Tomas, in honor of the Patron Saint of his hometown Danao, Cebu.

The twelve original barangays of the newly created municipality were: Balagunan, Bobongon, Esperanza, Kimamon, Kinamayan, La Libertad, Lunga-og, San Miguel, Talomo, Magwawa, New Katipunan and Tibal-og.

Local Chief Executives that has served the Local Government of Santo Tomas

Term of Office Municipal Mayor
1959-1960
(9 months)
Lt. Col. Porferio Jain - Administrator of NARRA, first appointed Municipal Mayor
1960-1963
1967-1971
(7 years)
Feliciano Ganade – second appointed Mayor and second elected Mayor
1963-1967
1971-1986
(19 years)
Aniceto S. Solis - First elected Mayor and stepped down after the EDSA Revolution
1986-1998
2004-2013
(21 years)
Dr. Maximo M. Estela, M.D. - He was a SB member when he took over as OIC under Cory Aquino’s Revolutionary Government
1998-2001 (3 years) Raymundo P. Pamaong (4 days); Joel Z. Bayanay (10 months); Dr. Salvador R. Royo (1 year and 9 months) - Mayoralty election results were contested by candidates Salvador Royo and June Genevieve Sebastian which was resolved only after 16 months. Two OICs were appointed pending resolution of the electoral protest.
2001-2004 (3 years) Dario G. Romano
2013-2016 (3 years) Benigno R. Andamon
2016-2019 (3 years) Daniel S. Batosalem Jr, MDMG
2019-2022 (3 years) Ernesto T. Evangelista
2022-Present Roland S. Dejesica