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The Powerful “Province- State” of Lanao:

Singapore is known as a City State -meaning it is a City that became a Nation. The same goes with the Vatican - it is a City State.

On the other hand the Lanao provinces (both Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur) are Province States - meaning the combined provinces is in the position to be a nation or a country - without being dependent on the Philippine Republic. Meaning both provinces do not need an IRA, a DAP or PDAF in order to survive. Both can exist on its own without asking from the national coffers.

Why? Very simple: both provinces are the “renewable energy and fresh water” capital of this Nation because of the Lake up in Lanao. Lanao empowers the whole of Mindanao and Mindanao contributes to no less than 60% of the Nation’s coffers. Without Lanao - the “Battery of Mindanao” - Mindanao is practically powerless to contribute to this Nation so much revenue!

Today Iligan receives no less than P1.6 B annually from the national government as its Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA. If Iligan were a Federal State, Iligan would be receiving no less than P5 B annually! How is that for an exchange?

It is for this reason that way back in 1935, the two Lanao’s (which was then a lone province of Lanao) are the only provinces in this country which did not sign the Philippine Constitution. The reason is because both want a Federal set-up rather than a Unitary set-up. Both provinces know that the best way to earn revenues is not being dependent on Malacanang but being self-reliant and self sustaining. Both provinces knew that if Malacanang calls the shots the Lanao provinces will be losing its main advantages.

Today the logic of Lanao has been tested and proven correct. Today we see what has happened to the province as a whole.

Today we see the lost of its number one resource-power and energy to the private sector.

Today we see that it has never been able to develop its fresh water resources.

Today we do not see lasting peace between Muslims and Christians of both provinces.

Today we do not see the integration of Muslim industries like Takaful insurance and Amanah Banking into mainstream Philippine society, specially in Mindanao.

Today we see Iligan losing its status as the “industrial City of the South”.

Today we see the shutting down of several of its industries like National Steel Corporation.

Today we do not see both provinces declared as Special Economic Zones-which could have been the best move of Central Government.

Why did this happen?

Simple, all the national laws made by this government or which were omitted were all detrimental to Lanao!

Take the case of EPIRA - why privatize the NPC and the Agus Complex - it is not losing money but why give it to the private sector when government could earn much from it!

We are happy that President Macapagal came up with a law in 1963 to make the MSU but he and all subsequent Presidents forgot to make laws that would make Islamic industries prevalent in Mindanao! Education without integration is a waste of resources.

Other than that, Lanao has been pleading for laws that would upgrade its status. But Imperial Manila never listens to Lanao. For many years Lanao has been pleading for a Lake Lanao Development Authority but everything fell on deaf ears. Senator Legarda submitted it, Senator Gordon submitted it, Senator Lapid submitted it but up to now nothing has come out of it!!

In the early 2000s perhaps just to provide “konsuelo de bobo”, government came up with the Lake Lanao Watershed Protection and Development Council or LLWPDC which submitted a budget in 2003 to rehabilitate the Lake, its watershed and improve its water quality. Today such a budget has never been responded to by the national government!! Why?

Lanao has two former American Bases-Camp Keithley in Marawi and Camp Overton in Iligan. I always wondered why it is not part of the plans of the Bases Conversion Development Authority or BCDA just like Subic, Clark and Fort Bonifacio? Their entry could mean a lot to the Lanao provinces and its exponential progress.

Lanao could have been the number one Special Economic Zone or Free Trade and Warehouse Zone in the country better than Singapore in all respect-with its deep harbors and abundant mountain resources. But surprisingly there has been not move towards this direction by national government.

The sins of this Government to the Lanao provinces is both of omission and commission!

Today the logic of the late Senator Tomas Lluisma Cabili, Sultan Dimasangkay and the Pat Pangampong Ranao (the Confederation of Lanao Sultanates) of Lanao del Sur in not signing the 1935 Constitution has proven them all correct. Lanao will not rise unless it is declared as a Province Wide Special Economic Zone or a Federal State. Lanao will not rise as long as it is under the mercy of Malacanang-which does not care for its welfare.

We pray that the coming Bangsamoro would correct this grave negligence the government has done to Lanao. We pray that the leaders of the BIMP EAGA nations sees this. Perhaps if the Ministers and Kings of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia would speak as one voice for the benefit of Lanao and their Muslims Brethren, then President Pinoy would listen.

Lanao is the “Microcosm of the entire Bangsamoro”-for in this provinces you see Christians and Muslims living in so much abundant resources in equal territories but not enjoying its fruits nor its benefits.

This nation has been charging much to Lanao but never recharging it. Its like overusing your cell phone and expecting it to run forever with out recharging its battery-I therefore do not wonder why Lanao is such a mess today. National Government has been availing so much of its resources but not giving back its proper dues.

Lanao can be the “Forerunner of the Bangsamoro” next year and be a showcase to the whole world. Bangsamoro can have a premature birth next year in Lanao and not in 2016. Why the haste to give birth to the Bangsamoro in Lanao? Simple, Lanao needs to prove that the wisdom it exercise in 1935 would be proven correct today-we need to do justice to our hero Senator Tomas Ll. Cabili and prove to this nation once for all that Lanao is the “birthplace of federalism” in our country!!

Today Lanao languishes as a combined province, a powerful Province State but today a pauper compared to Davao, Gen San and Cagayan de Oro-the cities that it empowers and enlivens through the Lake. 

The one who brightens the rest is now in darkness. Quo Vadis Lanao?

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