Kabunsuan of Johore was an Arab-Malay who introduced Islam in the Cotabato areas at the end of the 15th century and established the Sultanate of Maguindanao after marrying a local princess.
In his honor, a province created last October, carved out of Maguindanao, was named after him. Shariff Kabunsuan is now the country’s 80th province and the 6th in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In Cotabato City and in Maguindanao, Muslims celebrate Shariff Kabunsuan Festival with several activities from December 15 up to 19, among them the river landing reenactment, an Inaul fashion presentation, musical and athletics events.
The Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) in Region 12 declared December 19, a legal holiday in the entire area of the defunct Region 12, based on the Batas Pampook Bilang 14 enacted on September 24, 1981.
The defunct Region 12 includes the cities of Cotabato, Iligan, Tacurong, and Kidapawan, and provinces of Lanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, and North Cotabato.
“In so far as the OMA-12 is concerned, we still hold the Sangguniang Pampook Act as effective and binding to date, considering that there is no clear order, issuances or resolutions declaring said act as repealed or void,” said OMA-12 director Kadatuan Endayla.