Lanao del Sur has a long, colorful history to share. The Darangen Epic, famous among the Maranaos, relates about their events and people and defines the old towns during pre-colonial period.
Lanao is the home of Maranao sultanate modernly known as the four principalities or Pat a Pagampong sa Ranao namely Masiu, Unayan, Balo-I and Bayabao. The Sultanate governs independently yet it is still identified with the national community. Its political power and domain is equally recognized like those in Sulu and Maguindanao.
In the heyday of colonialism, Lanao is proud to have resisted the succeeding foray of Spanish, American and Japanese intrusions. The saga of Maranao heroes who fought bravely in the so-called Moro Wars during the Spanish colonization along with their Tausug and Maguindanao brothers are living proofs.
The legendary battles of Bayang, Sultan Gumander, Ganassi and Tugaya records Maranao fighters armed with kris, spear, bow and arrow faced the canons and rifles of the Americans, exhibiting Maranao assertion for freedom and distinct political identity. The Japanese likewise failed following the fate of its predecessors.
The creation of Lanao del Sur is dated during the height of the Commonwealth government campaign for settlement in Mindanao. The undivided Lanao was administratively part and a political unit of the Moro province by virtue of Philippine Commission Act No. 787. Thereafter, in May 27, 1959 by virtue of Republic Act No. 2228, the unified Lanao was divided into two distinct provinces, namely Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte. Lanao del Sur was officially chartered on July 4, 1959.
Lanao del Sur went through phases of political changes. As a result of the negotiated settlement with the MNLF (Tripoli Agreement) during the Martial Law years, President Marcos issued P.D. No. 742 which included Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The constituents of Lanao del Sur affirmed the province inclusion in ARMM during the plebiscite on February 19, 1989. Although Marawi City refused to join first, it reconsidered its position later in 2001.
Lanao del Sur is composed of 39 municipalities and Marawi City. The Province is currently composed of 1,159 barangays and is divided into two congressional districts ( source: www.lanaodelsur.gov.ph).
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