Sama population in Western Mindanao growing—NCMF 9 cultural head

Posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 and is filed under Feature. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, 22 June 2017 by Rasida Janang— Based on the NCMF’s recent population data, there are 100,664 Sama in the Zamboanga Peninsula alone, as shared by Yasmin C. Asda, cultural head on National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Regional Office IX, “and the number is growing.”

Asda said the Sama, with their growing population across the region, many have availed and continue to avail of government projects that uplift their way of living.

Leading these government’s programs are 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) handled and managed by the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), the scholarship program for deserving Sama youth, and the housing program for families who also qualify based on minimal requirements.

The ethnic group called Sama, who are composed of Sama Banguingi, Sama Tawi-Tawi, Jama Mapun Sama Yakan, and Sama Bajau, live in some parts of Mindanao. These clusters of people are classified based on their place of origin or settled in, such as the Sama Tawi-tawi, some of whom are further identified as Sama Sinumul or Sama Pangutaran inasmuch as they are located in a specific island in Tawi-Tawi. They also identify themselves by the dialect they are using, referenced with their place of origin and the differences in some tone and words.

The Sama Banguingi are  considered as the major group in the Sama tribe. The places of origin of Sama Banguingui are Pilas Island, Basilan and Banguingui (formerly Tongkil) in Sulu. They live at the coastal areas of the  Zamboanga Peninsula, Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi. Most of the Sama Banguingi survive on their livelihood such as fishing, boat-building, and related businesses. They are highly literate among the other group. Some of them are doctors, nurses, businessmen, and professionals.

Second to Sama Banguingi are the Sama Tawi-Tawi the majority of whom have settled in the different parts of inland Tawi-Tawi province. The third group are the Jama Mapun in Cagayan de Sulu. Mapun came from the term “west” which means they are “situated in the distant place” from Sulu. The Sama Bajau, who live a seaborne lifestyle, are also called as Sama Di Laut.

“Religion is important in their (Sama) lives. Central sa kanila yung kanilang religion,” said Yasmin C. Asda, cultural head on National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Regional Office IX.

She shared, “The Sama exercise the religion of Islam like the daily prayers. The religion had been the way of life of Sama but they also have their own unique tradition.They still keep some of their ancestral tradition like the belief of the dead, or that they believe that souls remain in their graves. They respect and follow both of their tradition and religion with less worry.”

Some of the Sama today are mat weavers. Those in Siasi Island in Sulu and those from Tawi-Tawi weave high quality mats from dyed pandan leaves, and other products such as baskets, and sell them as their source of income.

The Sama Bangingi in Zamboanga City have settled in Taluksangay, Sangali, Simariki, Pangapuyan Island, Tictabon Island, Simariki and other islands. (Rasida Janang)

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