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Barangay Upper Lasang in Malapatan gets new tribal chieftain

Photo by Reniel Bantillan Suana

MALAPATAN, Sarangani -- Bong Fulung Fredo Pandian Basino was formally declared the new Barangay Tribal Chieftain (District 1) in Barangay Sapu Masla, Malapatan, Sarangani Province.

The ceremony, named "Installation, Investiture, and Recognition Ceremony of Bong Fulung Mngawe Banwe Di Sarangani as 'Bong Fulung Magot Banwe Di Silel'," was held on August 12, 2023, at the Sitio Upper Lasang covered court.

The title was passed down to Fredo Basino by his father, Bong Fulung Basino S. Bantillan. The title was transferred in accordance with a Barangay Resolution made by the Barangay Tribal Council and based on Blaan customary law. Members of the barangay, municipal, and provincial tribal councils, cultural workers, colleagues in academia, clan members, tribal leaders, and other stakeholders attended the ceremony.

In his role as tribal chieftain, Bong Fulung Basino holds the authority to practice and implement customary laws. "As tribal chieftains, we are holders of customary laws. We have the authority to practice and implement them," he said.

Photo by Reniel Bantillan Suana

Bong Fulung Basino's plans for his community include the consolidation of the ancestral domain, the promotion of unity among the people, and the forging of a strong partnership between the academe and the community. He also wants to encourage intelligent leadership among community leaders.

"I want our community leaders to acquire intelligent leadership," he said.

Bong Fulung Basino's remarkable journey encompasses multiple pioneering roles within the Provincial Government of Sarangani. Serving as the inaugural provincial planner, he laid the foundation for strategic development.

He also formerly held the position of Provincial Administrator. He currently serves as an Adviser to both the Sarangani Provincial Tribal Council (SPTC) and the Sarangani Indigenous Peoples Professionals Association (SIPRA). He carried the tribal title "Bong Fulung Mngawe Banwe," which translates to "The Great Adviser of the People."

He further solidified his impact by becoming the first elected Provincial Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR), advocating for indigenous rights.

Photo by Reniel Bantillan Suana

During his tenure, Basino spearheaded the creation and passage of the Sarangani IP Code, a significant legislative achievement. Presently, he serves as a trusted advisor to Gov. Rogelio "Ruel" Pacquiao, lending his expertise to policy development, organization, and management.

Bong Fulung Basino's contributions extend beyond advisory roles. He authored the visionary concept of the Sarangani Indigenous Peoples Eco-Cultural Village, fostering resilient, dynamic, and progressive communities. His involvement also includes mentoring services to shape the Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) from 2018 to 2028, among other impactful initiatives.

"Silel" refers to the buri palm tree or its leaves in the Blaan language, essential for making their traditional Igem (mat).

Formerly known as Silel, Sitio Upper Lasang was home to the Diantan Clan, esteemed as the ruling leaders. Bong Fulung Basino, a member of this clan, stands as the 4th-generation leader in succession. This accolade designates him as the "Bong Fulung Magot Banwe Di Silel," highlighting his connection to the legacy of Silel.

"The best way to go up is to go down. Being on top requires you to go down and find the true meaning of life, your leadership, and your calling," Bong Fulung Basino said. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Sarangani PIO/PIA SarGen)

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