Lanao del Sur mourns passing of first woman governor
ILIGAN CITY—Maranao society is in mourning the passing of Princess Tarhata Alonto-Lucman, Lanao del Sur’s first woman governor and among the few local chief executives who defied the strongman rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
The 94-year-old Lucman died just before daybreak on Friday at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where she was confined for medical attention.
Maranao women’s rights advocate and leader Samira Gutoc described Lucman as a leadership icon and the Bangsamoro’s equivalent of ‘The Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher.
“We lost a true leader and a peacebuilder of the Bangsamoro,” said Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., a grandnephew of Lucman.
Adiong noted how Lucman “fought for peace and development, and showed to society that a Moro woman is strong, confident and intelligent.”
Adiong has hosted the wake in honor of Lucman at the provincial gym in anticipation of large throngs of people who would express sympathy to her family.
Popularly known as Babu Tata, Lucman used the influence of her family to help settle conflicts among individuals and clans, long before she was elected governor in 1971.
It has since become her lifelong mission.
Lucman was born on June 26, 1926 into a Maranao royal family. Her father, Alauya Alonto, was sultan of Ramain who became the first Muslim politician to be elected senator. Her older brother Domocao, a lawyer, would also follow in their father’s footsteps.
Lucman was first tutored at home by American missionaries who were part of the so-called Thomasites, although she would later be allowed by her family to attend public school.
She held public office during Marcos’ martial law. In these trying times, Lucman helped stoke the revolutionary fervor of Muslim youth to oppose the Marcos dictatorship and supported clandestine efforts to beef up the struggle for Moro liberation.
These led to her unceremonious removal in 1975 as governor and exile, along with her family, to Saudi Arabia from where she and husband Rashid continued to fight the dictatorship.
She was only able to come home after Marcos was deposed.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra described Lucman as “a remarkable leader during her time” who fought for the cause of the Bangsamoro people with “bravery and a gentle spirit.”
“Her steadfastness broke the barriers of gender inequality when she was catapulted into the highest post of the province of Lanao del Sur,” Gandamra noted.
Bangsamoro parliament member Zia Alonto-Adiong, a grandnephew, said Lucman “showed us the many ways women can take their place within her family and community, and be not limited by other people’s opinions of her nor by the social stereotypes because of her gender.”
“While in government office, Princess Tarhata always wore a malong, symbolic of her deep attachment to her people and her culture,” noted Gutoc.
Lucman was buried past 1 p.m. on Friday, right after Congregational prayer, inside the residential compound of her son, former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Vice Governor Haroun Lucman, in Marawi City.
After being wrapped with white cloth, in keeping with Muslim tradition, she was further draped in red and yellow landap malong, a traditional fabric, to signify her royalty, Gutoc said.
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