Welcome to our medium of informing the public on the geographical and ethnographic intricacies of our province, Maguindanao.
Maguindanao is home to tri-people the Muslims, Christians and Lumads co-existing in an atmosphere of religious and cultural solidarity, bound together by a common aspiration for peace in their communities.
It has been an ardent desire for us in Maguindanao province to make all of its 36 towns become economically-progressive, viable investment hubs.
This is something we want to achieve by providing outsiders with ample awareness on the socio-economic and eco-tourism potentials in the locality, just waiting to be harnessed.
What we are proud of too is the resilience and dedication of our people to foster lasting peace throughout Maguindanao, now rising from the ashes of armed conflicts in decades past and devastations wrought by natural calamities.
Gov. ESMAEL G. MANGUDADATU
Governor of Maguindanao
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Maguindanao Province is located on the west of central Mindanao. It is bounded on the north by the Province of Lanao del Sur, on the east by Cotabato Province, on the south by Sultan Kudarat Province and on the west by Illana Bay.
The province maybe divided into two (2) physiographic units, the southwest cluster and the Maguindanao lowland. The southwest mountain cluster includes the two (2) big group of mountain elevation of Binaca and Blit. They are separated by the Valleys of River flowing northwest into the Moro Gulf and Lawasa-ig in to the Mindanao Sea. The Maguindanao lowland includes the extremity of the Cotabato base northeast of the provincial highlands. The area approaches the seas and the swamps of the Libungan marsh. Thick accumulation of detritus materials derived from the weathering and erosion of the adjacent emergent land mass compose the sea.
The Rio Grande de Mindanao is known as the biggest and the longest river in Mindanao. The northwest boundary of the Province and as such as the west bank is within the jurisdiction of the province. The rivers meanders with flood rains developed at places together with extensive delta, which caused its immediate vicinity marshy. It drains westward into the Illana bay and the Moro Gulf. Several small streams and creeks are perennial type while the rest are intermittent.
The province has a total land area of 972, 904 hectares.
The Province of Maguindanao is once part of the empire Province of Cotabato. When there were still less emigrants from Luzon and Visayas, this empire was inhabited by Bangsamoro People and known as the Moro Province. In 1967, by virtue of Congressional Act, the empire Province of Cotabato was divided into two (2) provinces, Cotabato and South Cotabato.
The late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos through Presidential decree 341 on November 22, 1973 again divided the Province of Cotabato into three (3) provinces. Thus, the Province of Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat came into existence.
The newly separated Maguindanao Province was administered by Governor Atty. Simeon A. Datumanong, followed by Atty. Zacaria A. Candao. On April 1, 1977, Atty. Candao resigned and President Marcos appointed Mayor Datu Sanggacala M. Baraguir of Sultan Kudarat Municipality as Governor. In his capacity as Governor of Maguindanao, he transferred the seat of the province from Maganoy now Shariff Aguak to Sultan Kudarat Municipality as embodied in the Presidential Decree No. 1170 dated July 7, 1977. The fourth appointed governor of Maguindanao was Atty. Sandiale A. Sambolawan. On January 1980 elections, he won as the first elected provincial governor. He returned the seat of the Provincial Government to Shariff Aguak.
In 1986, a great historical event transpired in Manila. President Marcos was forced to leave the country thru “EDSA Revolution”. Ms. Corazon C. Aquino was installed as the new President of the Republic of the Philippines. Upon assumption to office, she appointed Atty. Zacaria A. Candao as governor of Maguindanao on April 5, 1986 and concurrent Chairman of Lupong Tagapagpaganap Pampook (LTP). Governor Candao was elected as Governor in 1989 election.
When the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 6734, Governor Candao resigned and won for the position of Regional Governor of the ARMM. He was succeeded by his then Vice Governor Norodin A. Matalam as governor of Maguindanao. Governor Matalam was elected as governor in 1992 election. In 1995 election, Atty. Zacaria A. Candao won the governorship. He was re-elected in May 1998 election.
In the May 14, 2001 elections, Datu Andal S. Ampatuan, Sr. won and was the fifth elected governor of Maguindanao. Under his administration the development thrust of the Province anchored on food security, health, infrastructure and peace and May 14, 2007, but resigned in 2008 and succeded by his son, then Vice – Governor Datu Sajid Islam U. Ampatuan.
In connection with the so-called Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009, the Governorship of Maguindanao was vacated by Governor Ampatuan.
On December 21, 2009, the Department of Interior and Local Government issued a Memorandum Order appointing Hon. Bai Nariman A. Ambolodto as Vice-Governor and at the same time acted as the Provincial Governor of Maguindanao, ended her term as Acting Governor on February 22, 2010.
On February 23, 2010, the Regional Governor Ansaruddin A. Adiong appointed Datu Gani O. Biruar as Governor of Maguindanao. He Turn-Over the Governorship of Maguindanao to Governor Elect Esmael G. Mangudadatu on June 30, 2010.
On July 01, 2010, Hon. Esmael G. Mangudadatu assumed his post as the 6th elected Governor of the Province of Maguindanao. Under his administration, the development thrusts guided by his eight (8) point development agenda, such as; Restoration of Peace and Order, Transparent, Accountable and Participative Governance, Poverty Reduction Program, Infrastructure Development, Parallel Support to Madaris and Secular Education, Accessible Quality Health Services, Environment Management Program and Revenue Generaration.
The Province of Maguindanao is divided into two congressional districts: the first and the second district. The first district is composed of Eleven (11) Municipalities while second district is composed of Twenty Five (25) municipalities with the total of 36 municipalities.
The 36 municipalities were composed of Five Hundred Eigth (508) Barangays. Of this Sultan Kudarat has still the most number of barangays with Thirty-Nine (39) followed by Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality with Thirty-Four (34) and the lowest are Buluan and Datu Anggal municipalities with seven (7) barangays each.
As of May 13, 2013, there are 4, 436 government officials in the province. These are one (1) Provincial Governor, one (1) Vice-Governor, Ten (10) Board Members, Thirty Six (36) Municipal Mayors, Thirty Six (36) Municipal Vice-Mayors, Two Hundred Eighty Eight (288) Municipal Councilors, Five Hundred Eight (508) Barangay Chairmen, and Three Thousand Five Hundred Fifty-Six (3,556) Barangay Councilmen.
When the province was established in 1973, the designated seat of government was the municipality of Maganoy. The first appointed governor, Simeon Datumanong, held office in Limpongo, a former barangay in Maganoy which is now part of the municipality of Datu Hoffer Ampatuan.
Datumanong’s successor Zacaria Candao, on the other hand, held office at P.C. Hill, the site of the former headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary in Cotabato City, an autonomous chartered city not under Maguindanao’s provincial jurisdiction.
In 1977 following the resignation of Candao, President Ferdinand Marcos moved the province’s seat of government to the municipality of Sultan Kudarat (hometown of the newly-appointed governor Sanggacala Baraguir) by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1170. During his term Baraguir held office at the then-newly-constructed provincial capitol in that municipality’s Brgy. Simuay Crossing.
The next governor, Sandiale Sambolawan, held office in his hometown of Maganoy following his election to the governorship in 1980. In an attempt to legitimize the restoration of Maganoy’s status as the seat of provincial government, Batas Pambansa Blg. 211 was enacted in 1982, but with the explicit provision that the change will only take effect after a plebiscite affirms the transfer. A plebiscite was scheduled for December 18, 1982 but was never administered, thus making the municipality of Sultan Kudarat still capital of Maguindanao by law (de jure), but Maganoy being the capital in practice (de facto). Following the end of the Marcos Regime, the next two governors — Zacaria Candao (1986–1992; 1995–2001) and Norodin Matalam (1992–1995) — both held office in the existing capitol at Sultan Kudarat thereby restoring the municipality’s status as both de jure and de facto provincial capital from 1986 to 2001.
Despite the lack of legal justification in the form of a law amending P.D. No. 1170 of 1977 or the passage of a supporting Sangguaniang Panlalawigan (SP) resolution, the next governor, Andal Ampatuan Sr. (governor from 2001–2008), and his successor, son Sajid Ampatuan (2008–2009), held office in the Ampatuan clan stronghold of Shariff Aguak (renamed from Maganoy in 1996), citing security concerns connected to clan rivalry. A new ₱218-million provincial capitol complex, inaugurated in 2009 in the presence of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was located adjacent to the homes of the Ampatuans, and sat on a piece of Amaptuan clan land that had not been legally deeded to the government. The Ampatuans were even known to spend more time within the “satellite offices” they set up within their private properties, despite though the new capitol being located adjacent to their homes.
Esmael Mangudadatu, who took office after defeating Andal Ampatuan, Jr. in the 2010 gubernatorial election, cited security concerns when he decided to work from a “satellite office,” named the Rajah Buayan Silongan Peace Center, in his hometown of Buluan; this move was supported by Resolution No. 5, series 2010 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Maguindanao. SP Resolution No. 78, dated May 3, 2011, further allowed the transfer of the legislative branch of the provincial government (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) to the rehabilitated old capitol site in Brgy. Simuay Crossing, Sultan Kudarat. This effectively made both Buluan and Sultan Kudarat — located 120 kilometers apart by road — the seats of the executive and legislative branches of provincial government respectively.
On April 3, 2012 the SP of Maguindanao issued Resolution No. 132, reiterating that the town of Sultan Kudarat was the capital of Maguindanao. However, this was superseded by a new resolution passed in 2014 naming Buluan the new capital of Maguindanao. Buluan’s Rajah Buayan Silongan Peace Center now serves as the provisional capitol building, pending the completion of the executive building in the new capitol complex. However, the legislative branch of provincial government, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Maguindanao, continues to hold sessions in the rehabilitated buildings of the old provincial capitol in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat.
The Ampatuan-built former provincial capitol complex in Shariff Aguak, initially planned to be converted for public school use, is now set to become the new headquarters of the ARMM’s Bureau of Fire Protection.
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