Last modified: 2013-10-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: autonomous region of muslim mindanao | mindanao | armm | basilan | lanao del sur | maguindanao | marawi | sulu | tawi-tawi |
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Images of provincial flags here drawn after Symbols of the State, published by the Philippines Bureau of Local Government.
[Note: the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao now comprises five provinces and Marawi City, although much of the information on this page alludes to the existence of only four provinces - Basilan was transferred to the ARMM in the late 1990s.]
As other provincial flags in Philippines, the flag is composed by a plain background with the official seal of the province in the center. At the center of the seal is the handle of the kris, slightly drawn symbolizing authority used by the major tribes in the area. White in color as it stands for purity, and only slightly drawn as it is for peace. The crescent symbolizes the predominance of its Muslim populace. Its yellow color typifies the social class structure of its major tribes. The four small stars represent its component provinces, namely: Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The big star represent the Republic of the Philippines. The background is green to show its fertile soil, rich vegetation and animal life and abundant natural resources.
The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created in August 1, 1989
by virtue of Republic Act No. 6734. However, it was actually organized and
inaugurated on November 6, 1990 (with Philippines under the presidency of
Corazon Aquino) at Cotabato City, the seat of the Regional Government. In 1996,
to get the Moro National Liberation Front to lay down its arms, the MNLF former
chief Nur Misuari was given the chief executive post. A plebiscite on 14 August
2001 in the 14 provinces and cities of Mindanao and Palawan, asking them whether
they wanted to join the ARMM, was a big failure. The results showed that only
Basilan province (minus Isabela city) and Marawi City opted
to join ARMM. The plebiscite was a required before any election could take place
in the ARMM.
Sources: BBC news, Jane's, http://mindanao.com, http://mindanao.org and official Philippines website.
Santiago Tazon, 10 December 2001
The only flag that can flown on the Philippines is the Filipino flag, anyway,
every province and city has got its own flag displayed on the public offices and
government buildings except the A.R.M.M. The reason is that the Autonomous
Region of Muslim Mindanao is more than a simple region of the Philippines. The
seal is official, but not the flag. Maybe it will be in the future.
There is a non-official flag adopted by the members of the A.R.M.M.; it is a flag of three horizontal stripes of blue, white and red, with crescent, stars and kris on it. A seal (the crescent and stars) similar to the official seal and a Moro sword (kris) are placed parallel to the stripes.
Paolo Paddeu, 31 July 2007
image by Rob Raeside, 23 May 2012
Here is a link to a photograph of the ARMM
flag that I spotted months before:
http://flickr.com/photos/11396417@N00/290489684/. I'm not sure as to whether
this is a general flag for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or just the
flag of the regional assembly that convenes in Cotabato City. Either way, the
ARMM surely has greater powers than the regular regions as it is the only one
with a regional legislature. The other regions, as far as I'm aware, do not have
The ARMM, by the way, is now composed of six provinces: Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. The province of Shariff Kabunsuan - named after the Islamic missionary that brought the religion to the area - was carved out of the province of Maguindanao and became the country's 80th province on October 31, 2006. Also included in the ARMM are two component cities (cities that are under the jurisdiction of a province): Marawi (in Lanao del Sur) and Lamitan (in Basilan). However, the ARMM does exercise jurisdiction over the city where its seat of government is located (Cotabato City is part of Region 12) or the capital city of one of its provinces (the majority of Isabela City residents voted against joining the ARMM while the rest of Basilan did).
Jay Allen Villapando, 1 August 2007
The official flag act can be found
at the site:
Jens Pattke, 14 May 2012
My drawing of the flag, based on a photo
does not entirely agree with the description sent by Jens - the description in
the act calls for four small stars; the image shows six small stars.
Rob Raeside, 23 May 2012
That wouldn't be surprising as that description is
from 1992, while we have it that the fifth province was added in the late
ninety's. However, doesn't that 1992 rather describe a flag with three columns?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 23 May 2012
image by Jaume Ollé, 12 January 2001
Basilan, with a population of 326,000, is divided into eight municipalities or
towns, of which Isabela serves as the capital. The date 1973 on the shield is
the year in which Basilan became a province; previously it had been governed as
a city in the province of Zamboanga. It is apparently troubled by two armed
John Ayer, 15 February 2001
image by Dirk Schönberger, 12 January 2001
[no longer in use]
Source: Symbols of the state
The flag of city of Basilan shows the island province set in a sun-kissed sea,
with two hands clasped in friendship, and the border divided between the symbols
of Christianity and Islam.
John Ayer, 9 April 2001
There is now no city of Basilan, and has not been since the island became a
province in 1973. This flag was therefore already obsolete when the book Symbols of the State
was published in 1975, and the book evidently does contain the flag of the
province that succeeded the city.
John Ayer, 28 May 2001
image by Jaume Ollé, 17 February 2001
The Philippine Province of Lanao del Sur is defined by Lake Lanao, the second
largest and deepest in the Philippine Islands. The Agus River, its outlet to the
sea at Illana Bay, is the swiftest river in the country, and a hydroelectric
station at Maria Cristina Falls supplies electricity to a large area. The
Maranao, the People of the Lake, are late but zealous converts to Islam, and
have always been intolerant of outside rule. The Spanish were still trying to
establish their government here in the 1890s. After the Spanish-American War the
Maranao turned to resisting the Americans, then the Japanese, then the
Philippine government. The area was a stronghold of the Moro National Liberation
Front, which seized and briefly held the provincial capital, Marawi, in 1972.
With the creation of an Autonomous Region in Moslem Mindanao the MNLF finally
made peace. Marawi is the only chartered city in the Philippines with a Moslem
majority. It contains several Moslem educational institutions, one founded by
King Faisal of Sa'udi Arabia, another by Aga Khan.
John Ayer, 13 June 2001
image by Jaume Ollé, 7 February 2001
The Philippine Republic's Province of Maguindanao preserves the name of the
state so firmly established by Sultan Kudarat of illustrious memory. Its
population is 801,100 by the 2000 census. It contains the
City of Cotabato City, headquarters of both
Region XII and the Autonomous Region of Moslem Mindanao, but the provincial
capital is Shariff Aguak. Shariff Aguak was a fifteenth-century Mayal prince
from Johore who introduced Islam into Mindanao. Islam is now dominant in
Maguindanao, and in 1989 the province voted to be part of the Autonomous Region
of Moslem Mindanao. Maguindanao occupies the lower valley of the Pulangi River,
also known as the Rio Grande de Mindanao. The soil is extremely fertile, and
produces a wide variety of agricultural products; fishing, plywood production,
and small-scale industries and crafts are also economically significant.
John Ayer, 13 June 2001
image by Dirk Schönberger, 12 January 2001
image by Jaume Ollé, 14 July 2000
The flag of Sulu province, with arms in center where you can see the
Christian and Muslim symbols, the Philippine sun, and the Mecca doors.
Jaume Ollé, 14 July 2000
The Province of Sulu in the Republic of the Philippines occupies the
northeastern half of an archipelago extending from Zamboanga toward Borneo (Tawi-Tawi
occupies the remainder). Its population is 619,668 by the 2000 census, on four
island groups with a total of 1785 sq.km. of land area and comprising eighteen
towns, of which Jolo is the capital. Jolo was probably the most populous and
wealthiest town in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, with a large
foreign trade, and became the capital of a sultanate that extended not only over
the Sulu Archipelago but also to Sabah, Palawan, and Zamboanga. The Spanish
tried for hundreds of years to reduce this sultanate to subjection. They finally
attained partial success in the late nineteenth century, when they destroyed
Jolo and built there a fortress with four strong gates. The Suluans were no more
amenable to American control, and maintained open warfare until 1915, when the
Americans imposed a treaty by which the sultan gave up his temporal authority
and Sulu became part of the Philippines. Separatist warfare against the
Philippine central government did great damage in the 1970s (Jolo was burned)
but that seems to have been pacified by the establishment of an Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Sulu deliberately adopted an emblem in which the
symbols of Islam and Christianity are harmoniously joined. It has also opened a
gate to the outer world.
John Ayer, 21 June 2001
image by Jaume Ollé, 7 February 2001
The Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi, part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao, occupies the southern end of the Sulu Archipelago. It is in fact the
southernmost part of the Philippine Republic, extending to within thirty
kilometers of Sabah, Malaysia. "Tawi-Tawi" means "very far away." The province
consists of a great many small islands, grouped into ten towns. The people make
their living mostly from the sea. Many of them live in house-boats, and more
live in houses built over the water and connected by little bridges. They are
expert seamen and boatbuilders. The islands abound with white, sandy beaches,
bright coral reefs, exotic wildlife, and brightly dressed, friendly natives who
understand English, but there is very little tourism.
John Ayer, 23 June 2001
image provided by datujamasali, 1 August 2005
The royal flag of the Jamasali Royal Family of Tawi Tawi Kingdom, southern Philippines. This flag is also displayed at the University of California Los Angeles at the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
Tawi Tawi was ruled by the Jamasali royal family, as written in the book of
royalties and nobilities in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Jamasali royal family
are descended from His Majesty Sultan Bararuddin who is related to the royal
family of Brunei. The famous Princess Norma Piandao Jamasali bin Sultan
Bararuddin is from Tawi Tawi then Datu Ramon bin Jamasali. Those are descended
from Sultan Bararuddin.
datujamasali, 1 August 2005