WESTERN Mindanao State University (WMSU) will gain another feather on its cap – this one decidedly regal – when the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo will confer on the region’s top educational institution the title of “Royal University.”
Datu Albi Julkarnain, Prime Minister of the Sultanate said Sulu Paramount Sultan Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin Shakirullah II will formally confer the honorific title during a ceremony at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, July 20, at the lobby of the Executive Building of the university. The title will be received by WMSU President Dr. Eldigario Gonzales.
Datu Julkarnain, said the 600-year old monarchy decided to extend the royal title upon WMSU since the latter has been the school for so many years of its members in the past. Among the illustrious children of Sulu monarchs who studied in WMSU were Princess Tarhata Kiram, Princess Piandao, Princess Putli Julkarnain and Princess Indah Taas Abirin. He said all these royal princesses studied to later on become teachers in Sulu, educating generations of Tausugs. Princess Tarhata took up post-graduate studies in the United States, too, he said.
The prime minister further said that WMSU more recently created the Restoration of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Movement. He said the movement “energized” the royal families of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan to re-unify themselves and revive the sultanate. Moreover, he said educated Tausugs read the books published by WMSU Prof. Clemencio Bascar and numerous newspaper articles of Prof. Emmanuel Mangubat and Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Director, Public Affairs Office, WMSU about athe independence of Sulu, and this led tothe recent restoration of the Sultanate with the election of Dr. Bahjin as Sultan Muazzam.
The full contingent of the Ruma Bichara, the assembly of advisers and secretaries of the Sultan, will grace the confernment ceremony, Datu Julkarnain said. Dayang-Dayang Nur-Anna I. Sahidulla will present the Royal Banner and Relic to WMSU.
Eventually, the royal title will become more than honorific if, as it is planned, the university will establish a royal professorial chair and introduce academic subjects or conduct special events dealing with the sultanate or its particular interests. (Rey-Luis Banagudos – PAO, WMSU)