Lanao del Sur town to enthrone new Maranao royal figurehead

- By Manuel T. Cayon @awimailbox Mindanao Bureau Chief

DAVAO CITY—A lakeside town in Lanao del Sur would install a new royal figurehead this month in what key leaders of the Maranao society described as a welcome addition to traditiona­l leaders who could exert influence and authority to resolve pestering clan conflicts among them.

Maglangit Soba Decampong, a lawyer by profession and who has decades of experience in government service would be enthroned as Radiamuda sa Bayang on August 15 in his hometown in Bayang, Lanao del Sur.

Decampong would rein over the Bayang Sultanate, one of the sultanates in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

A hereditary ruler similar to a king, the Radiamuda is both a lay and spiritual leader who carries out Islamic and local traditiona­l laws, an event statement said.

“His powers are authorized by long culture and tradition [Ijmah and Taritib] to help settle rifts and transactio­ns among his folks. He also mediates in the resolution of rido, violent revenge between families, sometimes involving the military and insurgents,” it added.

Bayang is historical­ly known as the “Little Mecca” in this province due to the religiosit­y of its constituen­ts. In 1902, many local residents died in battle against American troops during the American colonizati­on.

The sultanate system remains a vital thread in Maranao society, representi­ng royal authority, cultural heritage and even purveyor of Islamic laws. The Maranaos trace their pedigree through their family tree, called the Salsila, which dates back to the beginnings of the Lanao royal houses.

Decampong’s lineage goes back to a maritime ruler from central Mindanao, the statement said.

Decampong studied accounting and law at the Mindanao State University, and pursued masters in business administra­tion. He began government service at the Commission on Audit in the Quezon City head office. He transferre­d to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, starting in 1991 in Revenue Region No. 16 in Cagayan de Oro City.

For almost 30 years, he has been reassigned to various regions as revenue district officer. He was also tapped to give lectures on codes of conduct and tax-related matters, and was sent to seminars abroad, including a seminar on taxation in Tokyo, Japan and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He was also a member of civic organizati­ons such as the Rotary Internatio­nal, and was once a president of the Rotary Club of Wack Wack, a district governor’s special representa­tive in the organizati­on of Rotary Club of Mandaluyon­g.

Decampong is planning to set up the Radiamuda sa Bayang Trust Foundation, which consists of a Council of Elders and other concerned citizens to safeguard the community affairs, and to reconnect Bayang’s royal ties with neighborin­g Asian countries. He would put up a collection of royal heirlooms and fund a research on Bayang’s ancestors, the Iranuns, an enthnoling­uistic group living in the boundary between Lanao del Sur and Maguindana­o, and in Zamboanga, and Sabah in Malaysia.

The statement quoted Secretary Saidamen Pangarunga­n, secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, as describing Decampong “an important voice in contributi­ng to the call of the times.”

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong said he would look forward to working with him to solve peace and order issues. “My hope for you is to stand as a source of justice and an instrument for unity,” Adiong said.

In the next two weeks, town residents have organized activities leading to the enthroneme­nt, such as cultural presentati­on rekindling some Maranao music ensembles, like Kulintang, Bayok and Kalilang, free relief operations, and turnover of school projects facilitate­d by the new Radiamuda.

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