The Code of Maragtas (Bala-od Maragtas)

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - April 11, 2018 - 12:00am

The book "Glimpses in History of Early Cebu" written by Lina Quimat in 1980 tells of a code written by a Cebuano and not by several datus from Borneo, contrary to what has been said by others to us. It said that the original manuscript containing the code had been given by its author to Fray Roman Andres, and the owner hid under an assumed name of one Fr. Oripiano Rodriguez, OSA, of Cebu. Here are the rules of the Code:

1.) Great penalty shall be imposed on laziness. Land shall be cultivated and planted.

2.) A lazy person shall be arrested and sold as a slave to work in the fields.

3.) When a slave becomes industrious and an able worker, the purchase money shall be returned to his purchaser and the slave shall be freed to fill his own land.

4.) When a man, after gaining his freedom, again becomes lazy and improvident he shall be rearrested and thrown into the deepest forest to keep him from associating with his own people.

5.) Theft and reaping plants grown and cultivated by others shall be severely punished and the person found guilty shall have his fingers cut.

6.) Marriage to as many as three women may be permitted in the beginning in order to increase the population. Afterwards only those who can support many wives and children may be permitted more than one wife.

7.) Poor persons shall not have more than two children. Children of the poor in excess of two in number, shall be killed or thrown to swift river.

8.) The authorities shall arrest a man who dishonors a woman, runs away and does not marry her.

9.) If the man is not found, the illegitimate child shall be killed and they shall both be buried in one grave.

10.) Parents shall no longer take of their children who beget illegitimate children.

The Maragtas Code is proof of the advanced civilization of the Bisayans. Morals were high, industry was encouraged. Gregorio Zaide agreed in his book, that the Code of Maragtas was promulgated in 1212. The original manuscript which was given to the custody of the Order of Saint Augustine and changed hands is missing and may the search be made upon orders of the national and local government of a national treasure.


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