Just like any other Mindanaoan, the Moro people in the island will fight for their freedom against all enemies.
This was stressed by Sultan Kudarat Mayor Shameem Mastura in an interview by newsmen here Monday, recalling the heroism of Sultan Kudarat – who lived from 1581 to 1671 – and was the seventh sultan of Maguindanao from 1619 until his death.
Mastura reflected on Sultan Kudarat’s life as this town celebrated its 71st founding anniversary on Aug. 20 with Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as special guest.
Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat, Mastura said, repulsed Spanish conquerors during his reign in southern Mindanao and was feared by enemies but loved by his people.
Sultan Kudarat, who was a direct descendant of Shariff Kabunsuan, a Malay-Arab missionary who brought Islam to Mindanao between the 13th and 14th century, died at the age of 90.
The remains of Sultan Kudarat, according to the mayor, were buried along the Simuay coastline with a marker “Tomb of Sultan Kudarat”, which has now become one of the tourist spots in the municipality.
“My great, great grandfather might not be recognized as much as those heroes in Luzon and the Visayas but here in Mindanao, he was an icon of a leader,” Mastura said.
Through the years, the mayor said the town, once known as Nuling, has also evolved from a poor community to a first-class municipality in Maguindanao.
The town, which is agriculture-based, has some 23, 000 hectares of agricultural lands. It has also vast fishing grounds through the Rio Grande de Mindanao and Matampay Rivers exiting to Illana Bay, where over 1, 000 hectares of fishponds are situated for fish supply business to neighboring Cotabato City and the rest of the province.
The town also houses the Lamsan Power Corporation, a part of the Lamsan Group of Corporation that uses renewable energy as source to generate electricity. The firm was established sometime last year as part of the government’s initiative to promote the use of renewable resources in generating power as support to the forthcoming Bangsamoro region.
Mastura said the essence of liberty they learned from their ancestor Sultan Kudarat is that “freedom opens new doors of opportunity, and to decide what is right for you as people to grow and prosper.”
“If our hero Sultan Kudarat could only see us now, I am sure he would be proud of what we have accomplished,” he said. (PNA)