- Published: Tuesday, 12 March 2013 07:38
Kolambugan is a municipality (and the former capital) of Lanao del Norte, located along the Panguil Bay, facing Ozamis City in the province of Ozamis Occidental. It is west of the capital of the province, Tubod, east of Maigo, and north of Tangcal and Magsaysay. The total population as of the 2007 census was 25,306 inhabitants. It is comprised of 26 barangays, and the landscape varies, from mountainous to flat, from coasts to hinterland communities. The population of Kolambugan is a nearly even mixture of Maranao Muslims and the descendants of Visayan immigrants, the majority of whom are Roman Catholic, although there are other religions practiced among them, including Seventh Day Adventist, Iglesia ni Cristo, Baptist, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Kolambugan is rife with irresponsible and illegal logging, which leads to landslides, flash floods, and conflict within the region. It was host to battles during the 2003 and 2008 conflicts between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front. There are continuing land disputes due to legalities around titles, as the Maranao do not traditionally keep written documentation because they do not recognize land ownership in this way. There have also been cases of internally displaced people due to the conflict, whose land has been sold off in their absence. Furthermore, the government has put in place discriminatory laws about the right to buy land, which have negatively impacted upon the Maranao. However, there are legitimate cases of Visayan ownership, wherein the families have suffered harassment or have been dragged into the conflict, in spite of their ability to prove their right to occupy their land. The climate is hot and humid, and there are regular afternoon rains, which are often torrential downpours, and can lead to flooding and land sides.