HomeNotre Dame Journalvol. 33 no. 1 (2007)

Migrants' Influence on the Socio-Cultural and Political Life of the Sama Tribe

Jefrey Yasin A. Noor

Discipline: Social Science, Political Science



Tawi-Tawi is known as the "land of peace" and the cradle of Islamic civilization in the southernmost part of the Philippines. The name Tawi-Tawi was derived from the Malay word "Jawi" which means far or isolated, and peopled predominantly by "Sama" meaning unity and peace. This will testify that the Sama of Tawi-Tawi are totally different from other Muslim tribes, Chinese and Christians alike, in terms of socio-cultural and political lifestyle.


Prior to the advent of the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front (GRP-MNLF) conflict in Mindanao, Tawi-Tawi was a part of the province of Sulu. In this crucial stage, the Sama MNLF surrenderees demanded for separation so that on September 27, 1973 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 302, Tawi-Tawi was legally proclaimed as distinct and separate province from Sulu.


Its creation was a significant milestone. It has instilled hope among the Sama who have become more actively involved in the activities of the national government. Presently, the provincial administration offers a more excellent and efficient management of its affairs with regard to the welfare of the Tawi-Tawians of outlying island municipalities.