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Subanen Governorate of Basilan Islands

Governorate of Basilan Islands

Subanen Governorates in Basilan Islands

Map of the Subanen Governorate in Basilan Islands

History of Basilan (Be'noa Basilan or Benwa Basilan)

Subanen people are among the biggest Lumad or indigenous people of  Mindanao that settled the Island since 4,200 B.C., or during the Neolithic period. Subanen are mixed blooded of Negrito, early Austronesians and Indo-Austronesian that could be considered as the first settlers of Mindanao Island who used advance technology and knowledge in living during such period compared to the earlier ancestors (Negrito and early Austronesian).  

Subanen are peaceful people but characterized by two flexible natures; if their number is in the majority position then they will dominate and control the areas but if they are outnumbered then they would either move or migrate to the other places to avoid any conflict or tend to blend and even acclimatized with the majority settlers. Subanen people are willing to share their land or territory and allow migrants to settled in because of the belief that "Land is owned by all not by just only one" which should be shared to all.  Having visitors or having new migrants to settled the territory does not constitute as "invasion" in Subanen law but forcibly coercing the belief and culture are equivalent to war.  

The continuous migration of different tribes and different migrants from different directions to the Subanen territory had severely destroyed the Subanen culture as people’s nature to either migrate to other places to avoid the new incoming migrants or assimilate that even tried to hide their identity to merge and blend with the majority that following generations would not be familiar anymore with the culture and could no longer speak the Subanen language.

Basilan Island was ruled by the brave Datu Basilan the brother of Datu Na'wang since 4,000 B.C. After the death of Datu Basilan, his people in the island was become so complacent that no one want's to lead than just to live under the power and influence of Datu Na'wang of Zamboanga the brother of Datu Basilan. Generation and generations passed by leaving Basilan Island as un-ruled by a Datu until the arrival of Yakan tribe from Borneo on around 300 to 200 BC that resulted the people to scramble for easily defeat which majority left and moved to Zamboanga while others especially women who married with the Yakan tribe live and assimilate with the Yakan people.

As the Tausug people from Sulu grew in power and starts invading the coastal areas of Basilan Island, the Yakans withdrew inland, until most of the coastal communities along the island's southern, western and northwestern shores were primarily inhabited by Tausugs and their vassal tribes, the Samals and Bajaus (Tau-Laut). Some of the Yakans followed the Subanen people to Zamboanga but most of them stayed in the inner part of Basilan Island. 

In the present times, numbers of Subanen people or with subanen root who are already merged with the Yakan are still living in Basilan but some of them were hiding their identity to avoid discrimination since they are already part of the minority in the Yakan dominated Subanen Territory. Some Subanen who adapted the Islam faith and married with Tausug and Yakans also adapted the Yakan and Tausug culture and already called themselves as Yakan or Tausug though they are from the root of Subanen origin.

Subanen Government in Basilan Islands

Subanen territory is under the Philippines government and systems co-exist with Subanen People's Monarchy with the republic since the Subanen did not and well not insist for independence but mutual respects of co-existence. Pursuant to RA 8371, Subanen People's government as lumad are recognized by the Republic of the Philippines.

The center of the Subanen People's government is focus on governing the Subanen People and protection of the natural resources and its territory from destruction due to human activities.

Reigning Datu

Subanen Governorates in Basilan Islands

While different political setup was established by the Philippine government even inside the Subanen People's Kingdom, the Subanen rulers for the Governorate of Basilan Islands would co-exist to rule the Subanen People of in the territory without any conflict.

The reigning Datu is not appointed by the Subanen Council or the Great Datubut based on the interest and capability of the Subanen Datu to rule his people and  the territory. He is ruling his Timuays and the people. The Reigning Datu is reporting for guidance from the Subanen Council and the "Great Datu" the highest ruler of the Subanen People who established to reorganized and reunited the Subanen People . 

Basilan governorate is ruled by Datu or Datu in capacity. The seat of the ruling Datu would be recognized first by he highest ruler his Majesty Datu Gendao and his chosen name would be published in the website as the ruler of the Governorate. 

The ruler Datuwould be recognized by the highest ruler his Majesty Datu Gendao after a submission of official letter of intent to rule his territory with his proof  and capacity to rule based on the traditional standards of qualification for a ruler. The Process of recognition is based on the ancient practice of enthronement. See the enthronement process based on the ancient practice.

Subanen respects the freedom of belief and the Datu ruler of Basilan Island could be either a Muslim or Christian follower as long as from the root of the Subanen people would be recognized by his Majesty Datu Gendao.