Old Lanao Sur town commemorate centennial founding anniversary
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The municipality of Lumbatan along Lake Lanao was created in 1917 via an executive order by Frank Watson Carpenter, the appointed American civilian governor of the Moro Province, successor of Gen. John Pershing.
Pershing was the last military governor of the then American-controlled Mindanao and Sulu provinces.
Mayor Allan Lao said on Sunday that so large was the area of Lumbatan that it shared lands that were to become the territories of the now chartered towns of Lumbayanague, Sultan Dumalundong and Lumbac-a-Unayan, created one after another about eight decades later.
Lumbatan and all the towns that splintered from it are component-municipalities of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“Our hometown is not just very old, but very historic as well,” the 46-year-old Lao told The STAR.
The American government even established in Lumbatan right after its creation the Lumbatan Farm School, which taught Maranaws agriculture and livestock science.
There are stories by older Maranaws purporting that the creation of Lumbatan was meant to appease the Maranaws, in what is now Lanao del Sur, after waging deadly wars against the better armed American forces that built garrisons in their bastions.
From Lumbatan came the first ever Filipino-Muslim general in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the late Mamarinta Lao.
Lao is also remembered for his having established the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, after having served as appointed military governor of Lanao del Sur during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.
Lao’s niece, Rohaira, most known as “Kookai,” is the current provincial prosecutor of Maguindanao, the first ever Maranaw woman to occupy the sensitive post.
Another niece, Loren, is an incumbent state prosecutor in Lanao del Sur province.
Datu Mama Busran, the first ever Maranaw Court of Appeals justice, was also from Lumbatan town.
The first ever planning director of the pioneer regional cabinet of ARMM, Diamadel Dumagay, is a scion of a big Maranaw clan in the same town.
Dumagay was appointed chief of the ARMM’s Regional Planning and Development Office by the region’s first ever chief executive, lawyer Zacaria Candao, an ethnic Maguindanaon.
Candao was elected regional governor of ARMM after its creation through a plebiscite in 1990.
Lumbatan is within short distance from Lanao del Sur’s Bayang town, also an old seat of the Maranaw nobility and hometown of Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, incumbent regional vice governor of ARMM.
Lucman said many datus from Lumbatan helped his father, the late former Lanao del Sur Congressman Rashid Lucman, fight the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
“That was one of the most difficult times in their lives as adolescents, teenage anti-Japanese guerillas. They sacrificed for homeland, for their people and religion,” Lucman said on Saturday.
The municipality of Lumbatan is also known as the first ever in Lanao del Sur province to adapt an automated banking payroll system for employees of its local government unit.
The innovation, pioneered by Lao, elected mayor of Lumbatan only last year, is part of the LGU’s effort to streamline and professionalize the municipal bureaucracy.
Lao said their May 15 to 21 celebration of Lumbatan’s centennial anniversary shall be capped off with a trade fair, sports competition, cultural and religious events.
He said one of his administration’s main concerns is to sustain their LGU’s feats in helping push the war on drugs of President Rodrigo Duterte forward.
Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, police director of Lanao del Sur, said most of the recovering drug dependents and peddlers in Lumbatan are now actively involved in domestic peace-building and socio-economic activities.
Nantes said the inter-agency Lumbatan municipal peace and order council, led by the incumbent mayor, has been very supportive of their law-enforcement activities in all of the barangays in the now 100-year-old municipality.
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