Traditional Filipino Community
1.1 Government and Law
- The barangay was the Filipino's earliest form of government. It was an independent settlement consisting of thirty to one hundred families usually situated along a river bank or at the mouth of a river spilling out to the sea. - The term barangay was derived from the Malay word balangay, which means sailboat. The balangays were used to transport the early Filipinos and their cargoes to the various sections of the Philippine archipelago. - It was headed by a datu and was independent from the other group. - Usually, several barangays settled near each other to help one another in case of war or any emergency. - The position of datu was passed on by the holder of the position to the eldest son or, if none, the eldest daughter. - However, later, any members of the barangay could be chieftain, based on his talent and ability. He had the responsibilities of leading and protecting the members of his barangay. In turn, they had to pay tribute to the datu, help him till the land, and help him fight for the barangay in case of war. - The laws dealt with various subjects, such as inheritance, divorce, usury, partnership, crime and punishment, property rights, family relations, adoptions, and loans. - Judged by modern standards, the penalties imposed for a crime may appear barbarous or inhuman: exposure to ants, by flogging, by cutting one’s fingers. By being devoured by sharks or crocodile or by drowning. - In the old days, a datu had a council of elders to advise him, especially whenever he wanted a law to be enacted. The law was written and announced to the whole barangay by a town crier, called the umalohokan. - Disputes were settled through a “court” of the time, composed of the chief as the judge and the council of elders as the jury. Trials were conducted publicly and decisions were rendered promptly. The accuser and...
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