Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” This mantra of working together has brought the Maranao people of Lanao del Sur to embrace the Philippine Army (PA) with the conferment of the title “Adopted Son of Shakba Ko Lawasaig” to PA Commanding General Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista.
In traditional ceremonies held in Ditsaan Ramain, Lanao Del Sur on July 6, 2018, Lt. Gen. Bautista becomes the first and only military officer conferred with the title, giving him the honor and privileges for the royal blood Maranao clans in Lanao.
For more than 300 years, “Shakba Ko Lawasaig” is the traditional seat of power of the ancient royal clans of Maranaos in Ditsaan Ramain, Lanao del Surt, a few kilometers south of Marawi City.
In her message, Lanao Del Sur Governor Soraya Alonto-Adiong emphasized the Maranao culture’s strong sense of gratitude, which is the same reason of the conferment of adoption to Lt. Gen. Bautista. “Today’s ceremony is a great occasion to give ourselves some sense of debt we owe to one brave person and his troops who took a huge step in defending our land during the Marawi siege. Today is a day to show appreciation to this valiant soul and to strengthen the friendship that is already of great value,” Gov. Alonto-Adiong said.
“Those who served the people of Lanao del Sur during the Marawi crisis with their dedication and commitment have earned my respect and profound admiration. Lt. Gen. Bautista takes his rightful place in our hearts because his actions exemplify the finest qualities like that of a fierce Maranao fighter, steadfast, devotion to duty, tenacity in a fight, and love and respect for each other,” Gov. Alonto-Adiong said.
“Lt. Gen. Bautista’s dedication to duty regardless of personal safety embodies the very best traditions of the Maranao people. In return, he and his men inspired our hearts a deep sense of pride and patriotism. The deeds of Lt. Gen. Bautista and troops as ordinary men who performed extra-ordinary duties are profoundly moving. His heroism has earned him the conferment of the title ‘Adopted Son of Shakba Ko Lawasaig.’ May the devotion and gallantry of Lt. Gen. Bautista inspire the heroes in us and remind us of our obligation to defend the heritage of culture and move us to do the same sacrifices,” Gov. Alonto-Adiong said.
ARMM Assemblyman Zia Alonto-Adiong spoke of Lt. Gen. Bautista as the one who led the Liberation of Marawi from the invading Daesh-inspired-Maute terrorists, thereby earning him the title.
“The focused military operation in Marawi is one of the most successful military campaigns in the history of AFP. The campaign which lasted for five months, resulted to the neutralization of all terrorist leaders inside the main battle area to include the most wanted terrorist leader in the country, Isnilon Hapilon and all the Maute brothers; the recovery of about 900 high powered firearms and the rescue of all hostages,” Assemblyman Alonto-Adiong said.
According to Assemblyman Alonto-Adiong, Lt. Gen. Bautista orchestrated the liberation of Marawi City. “It symbolizes victory, brotherhood, courage, unity and collective leadership, that earned the Filipino people’s tribute, respect and appreciation for all the soldiers and police who fought for the liberation of the only Islamic City in the Philippines,” Assemblyman Alongto-Adiong said.
For his part, Lt. Gen. Bautista said in his message: “I will do my best to perform the roles and duties that should be carried out by an Adopted Son of Maranao Sultanate. I am honored with love you have showered on me despite the vey short time that I have served you. You have recognized me as a member of your family even we have differing cultures and beliefs. I know that this title is very important because it means that you are opening your doors to accept and embrace me.”
“As the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, all the soldiers under my command are also honored with this title and all of them now become adopted sons and daughters of the Maranao people. We are always prepared to serve you and secure our land and we are determined to give all our best because for us, you are also part of our family,” Lt. Gen. Bautista said.
“The success of the Liberation of Marawi should not only be attributed to the uniformed personnel, it should be also attributed to all Maranaos who served as our inspiration and motivation to end the crisis,” Lt. Gen. Bautista concluded.