Department of Mindanao and Sulu

The Department of Mindanao and Sulu was an agency of the United States colonial administration in the Philippine Islands tasked to administer all Muslim-dominated areas in the territory. It was established on July 23, 1914, pursuant to Act No. 2408, replacing the Moro Province after the latter was divided into the then districts/provinces of Zamboanga, Lanao, Cotabato, Davao, and Sulu.[1] It was later split into provinces/regions organized under the Department of Mindanao and Sulu, along with the former provinces of Agusan, Surigao and current province of Bukidnon, but excluding Lanao.[2]

Department of Mindanao and Sulu
Former division of the Philippines
Flag of Mindanao and Sulu
Coat of arms of Mindanao and Sulu
Coat of arms
Ph fil department of mindanao and sulu.png
The modern provinces which were administered by the Department of Mindanao and Sulu
• 1914-1920
Frank Carpenter
Historical eraAmerican Occupation
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Moro Province
Sulu Archipelago
Today part ofAgusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, Sulu, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato, Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Maguindanao, Sarangani, Zamboanga City, Iligan, Cotabato City, General Santos, Butuan, and Davao City.


A civil government replaced the Moro Province's government. The Legislative Council was replaced with an advisory body called the Administrative Council and its legislative power was diverted to the Philippine Commission.

The provincial government of the seven provinces was vested in a Provincial Board to be composed of a governor, a secretary-treasurer, and a third member. The governor and the secretary-treasurer is appointed by the Department governor subject to the confirmation of the Governor-General. The third member is elected by the presidents and councilors of all the municipal districts of province.

In 1915 the region's Department of Public Instruction became part of the Bureau of Education. It was slowly integrated into the overall system, with this process finishing in 1922.[3]


The Department encompasses seven provinces:


The right to vote for the municipal officers was given to males of at least twenty-five (25) years of age with at least six (6) months legal residence in the town. One who held a position before the American occupation; had an annual property worth ₱500.00 or paid at least ₱30.00 in taxes annually; and could spell, read or write English or Spanish.


It was eventually abolished in 1920, after the responsibility for the administration of Moro lands was transferred to the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes of the Philippines' Department of the Interior. It was headed by a governor, subordinate to the U.S. Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. Frank C. Carpenter served as its governor from 1914 to 1920.


  1. ^ Jose Arnaldo Dris. "Maguindanao". Archived from the original on January 1, 2006. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  2. ^ "The Moro Lands". Archived from the original on July 29, 2009. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Milligan, Jeffrey Ayala (2020). Islamic Identity, Postcoloniality, and Educational Policy: Schooling and Ethno-Religious Conflict in the Southern Philippines. Springer Nature. p. 68. ISBN 9789811512285.