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HomeThe RegionBARMMBongao, Tawi-tawi  PNP Chief Reports Successful Celebration of the 50th Kamahardikaan Founding...

Bongao, Tawi-tawi  PNP Chief Reports Successful Celebration of the 50th Kamahardikaan Founding Anniversary

by Jessie Mongcal, MDN News Bureau

BONGAO, Tawi-tawi – PLt Colonel Roy R. Zantua, PNP Chief of the Municipality of Bongao, this province, reported to the MDN News Bureau that the celebration of the 50th Kamahardikaan Founding Anniversary was very successful.

Zantua said the people of the province have worked hand in hand to support the Provincial Government which also made the success of the yearly celebration of the Kamahardikaan Festival.

The police chief also thanked Provincial Governor Yshmael ‘Mang’ Sali, and the mayors who have also contributed to the success of the activity. The celebration was both interagency and inter-municipality, and this even made it a very interesting festival of the year.

PLT COL ROY R. ZANTUA, Chief, Bongao Town, Tawi-Tawi

In terms of security, the Philippine Army and the Police are also doing their mandate to see to it that the founding anniversary is conducted peacefully. The PNP Bongao chief said there were no untoward incidents that happened and everyone is safe as the army and police forces are stationed in strategic areas to maintain peace and order.

Province-wide event

The provincial government, led by Provincial Governor Yshmael ‘Mang’ Sali, organized the event the MDN News Bureau also learned.

A large number of guests and visitors, including high-ranking officials from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), were invited to join and witness this vibrant celebration.

Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim personally attended the celebration during the  Lepa Festival on Sept. 24.

“I am happy to witness the colorful festival of Lepa here in Tawi-Tawi province, and this would not have been possible if it were not for the well-being of the local government province led by Governor Yshmael ‘Mang’ Sali,” he said.

He emphasized that the celebration symbolizes a deep appreciation for the wealth and culture of Tawi-Tawi.

“Lepa was not only used for transportation and livelihood by our Sama-Dilaut ancestors, but it also served as their traditional home in the middle of the ocean here in the south, a symbol of our colorful history,” he said.

“Lepa” means houseboat, which was the traditional home of the Sama-Delaut (popularly known as Sama-Badjao or Badjao) before they settled into stilt houses along the coastal areas, adapting to the changing world.

Accordingly, it is proudly claimed that no Lepa has ever sunk.


Kamahardikaan, which means “freedom”, signifies the birth of Tawi-Tawi province, which was separated from Sulu province on Sept. 27, 1973.

Tawi-Tawi province is home to the Sama Tribe, along with various other cultural sub-tribes of Sama. Over time, people from neighboring provinces and settlers from different areas have moved in, intermingled, and married the native inhabitants.

This has led to their increasing influence in local politics, the economy, and control over the province’s abundant natural resources, thanks in part to the natives’ remarkable hospitality and kindness toward newcomers.

While acknowledging the historical background of the province’s creation, which stemmed from the Bangsamoro struggle and sacrifices similar to the formation of the BARMM, the Chief Minister recognized the pivotal roles and efforts of all local government units in developing and consistently providing excellent public services to the people of Tawi-Tawi.


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