In speaking about it on the talk show Korina Sanchez Today, Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel also discussed Senate Resolution No. 10 and the proposal to shift to a "federal republic of the Philippines. For me the most significant thing he said was that ultimately, the only thing that would solve the "Moro Problem" in Mindanao is to allow a prospective Muslim state like the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity to adopt sharia law for cases involving Muslims, but that in cases which involve say Muslims and Christians, federal law would apply.
I think this makes a total mockery of the Bill of Rights on religious, civil, political and economic freedoms, and undermines the very foundation and integrity of our system of laws EQUAL PROTECTION. We are not talking here of the difference between federal and state law such as we find in the United States, because in no case may such laws be applied on the basis of race, religion, creed or sexual preference. Here we have an explicit reliance on the difference in religion that Pimentel is brazenly pushing and which Malacanang is abetting for the even nastier purpose of extending Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Desperate Death Grip on supreme power.
The Federalism that Nene Pimentel is pushing is really the beginning of apartheid, because it sets up two very different sets of laws for citizens that ought to be indistinguishable in the eyes of the law. Under sharia law for example, adultresses are stoned to death (and may even be raped tortured and ridiculed to save the honor of their brothers and fathers!)
An interesting thing I've noticed has to do with the bangsamoro concept itself. Taking the pejorative term "Moro" and lashing it to "Bangsa" was a brilliant stroke by folks like Nur Misuari and Hashim Salamat who created thereby, a new collective noun with nationalistic symbolic power to refer to the specifically Muslim inhabitants of Mindanao as one nation, one people.
In the MOA-AD the concept of the bangsamoro is extended to include ALL such inhabitants of Mindanao and their descendants, whether Muslim or not, as in the section on Principles & Concepts:
1. It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as “Bangsamoros”. The Bangsamoro people refers to those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization and their descendants whether mixed or of full native blood. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected.There are a number of striking LEGAL and HISTORICAL questions posed by the above MOA provisions. First, is who ARE the "indigenous peoples" referred to? Second and third are what exactly is meant or referred to in the various occurrences of phrases like "at the time of conquest or colonization" and "since time immemorial"?
2. It is essential to lay the foundation of the Bangsamoro homeland in order to address the Bangsamoro people’s humanitarian and economic needs as well as their political aspirations. Such territorial jurisdictions and geographic areas being the natural wealth and patrimony represent the social, cultural and political identity and pride of all the Bangsamoro people. Ownership of the homeland is vested exclusively in them by virtue of their prior rights of occupation that had inhered in them as sizeable bodies of people, delimited by their ancestors since time immemorial, and being the first politically organized dominant occupants.
3. Both Parties acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public domain but encompasses ancestral, communal, and customary lands, maritime, fluvial and alluvial domains as well as all natural resources therein that have inured or vested ancestral rights on the basis of native title. Ancestral domain and ancestral land refer to those held under claim of ownership, occupied or possessed, by themselves or through the ancestors of the Bangsamoro people, communally or individually since time immemorial continuously to the present, except when prevented by war, civil disturbance, force majeure, or other forms of possible usurpation or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a consequence of government project or any other voluntary dealings entered into by the government and private individuals, corporate entities or institutions.
4. Both Parties acknowledge that the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro people is rooted on ancestral territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The Moro sultanates were states or karajaan/kadatuan resembling a body politic endowed with all the elements of nation-state in the modern sense. As a domestic community distinct from the rest of the national communities, they have a definite historic homeland. They are the “First Nation” with defined territory and with a system of government having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations. The Parties concede that the ultimate objective of entrenching the Bangsamoro homeland as a territorial space is to secure their identity and posterity, to protect their property rights and resources as well as to establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to them as a distinct dominant people.
In effect, Principles No. 1 and 2 of the MOA-AD regards all the indigenous peoples living in Regions IX, X, XI nd XII as being part of the "Bangsamoro" super-nation, (reunited with sentimental fondness for the suzerain authority of a restored Maguindanao Sultanate run by the MILF!). Never mind that it was those very sultanates with their "suzerain authority" who kidnapped, enslaved, haremized, bought and sold, bonded and traded human beings they found all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Actually, what we know from history is that those sultanates were founded quite recently as far as "time immemorial" goes, and by readily identifiable foreign and non-indigenous conquerors and proselytizers in the form of Islamic "missionaries" as well as the far-wandering seed of the Prophet Mohammed bearing their pieces of carefully preserved paper--the genealogical warrants attesting to their nobility and therefore sacred right to rule over and even own other human beings. The arrival of Sharif Kabungsuan, the legendary founder of the Cotabato sultanates, was definitely an event the 16th century--just yesterday compared to the 30,000 years or so of archaeologically established human habitation of the Philippine Archipelago. The Sultanate of Sulu was established somewhat earlier but there is no reason to believe Islam existed in any significant form in these islands much before the dawn of the 15th century. By contrast, there is ample physical and anthropological evidence that Malays, Australo-Polynesians, Indians and Chinese have inhabited the Philippine Islands 'since time immemorial', or at least the Iron Age of 40,000 years ago.
But just to take the seminal event of Sharif Kabunsuan's establishment of the Cotabato Sultanate as a prime example, what could be more obvious than that Islam is as much a "foreign religion" as Christianity? The founder of those fabled sultanates was himself a refugee-prince from the Sultanate of the Moluccas that was conquered by the Dutch in the latter half of the 15 century. His arrival in the Pulangi River region and establishment of a new noble line based on his direct descent from Prophet Mohammed, cannot possibly be distinguished from the arrivals of Magellan or Legaspi and their establishment a foreign "suzerainty" under Spain.
For the convenience of our readers, the pertinent provisions of the Indigenous People's Rights Act are quoted below:
The Indigenous People's Rights Act of 1997 (R.A. 8371) states:
"Sec. 3 [h]. Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples refer to a group of people or homogeneous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory, and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, at the time of conquest or colonization, or at the time of inroads of non-indigenous religions and cultures, or the establishment of present state boundaries, who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains."The IPRA Law also enumerates the 110 officially recognized INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (as quoted in Justice Reynato Puno's December 2000 Separate Concurring Opinion):
Presently, Philippine indigenous peoples inhabit the interiors and mountains of Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Samar, Leyte, and the Palawan and Sulu group of islands. They are composed of 110 tribes and are as follows:You will notice that the concept of bangsamoro has been vastly expanded to included over half of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines listed above from Regions IX, X, XI and XII.
1. In the Cordillera Autonomous Region-- Kankaney, Ibaloi, Bontoc, Tinggian or Itneg, Ifugao, Kalinga, Yapayao, Aeta or Agta or Pugot, and Bago of Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan; Ibanag of Isabela, Cagayan; Ilongot of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya; Gaddang of Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Itawis of Cagayan; Ivatan of Batanes, Aeta of Cagayan, Quirino and Isabela.
2. In Region III-- Aetas.
3. In Region IV-- Dumagats of Aurora, Rizal; Remontado of Aurora, Rizal, Quezon; Alangan or Mangyan, Batangan, Buid or Buhid, Hanunuo and Iraya of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro; Tadyawan of Occidental Mindoro; Cuyonon, Palawanon, Tagbanua and Tao't bato of Palawan.
4. In Region V-- Aeta of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur; Aeta-Abiyan, Isarog, and Kabihug of Camarines Norte; Agta, and Mayon of Camarines Sur; Itom of Albay, Cimaron of Sorsogon; and the Pullon of Masbate and Camarines Sur.
5. In Region VI-- Ati of Negros Occidental, Iloilo and Antique, Capiz; the Magahat of Negros Occidental; the Corolano and Sulod.
6. In Region VII-- Magahat of Negros Oriental and Eskaya of Bohol.
7. In Region IX-- the Badjao numbering about 192,000 in Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur; the Kalibugan of Basilan, the Samal, Subanon and Yakat.
8. Region X-- Numbering 1.6 million in Region X alone, the IPs are: the Banwaon, Bukidnon, Matigsalog, Talaanding of Bukidnon; the Camiguin of Camiguin Island; the Higa-unon of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon and Misamis Occidental; the Tigwahanon of Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental and and Misamis Occidental, the Manobo of the Agusan provinces, and the Umayamnon of Agusan and Bukidnon.
9. In Region XI-- There are about 1,774,065 IPs in Region XI. They are tribes of the Dibabaon, Mansaka of Davao del Norte; B'laan, Kalagan, Langilad, T'boli and Talaingod of Davao del Sur; Mamamanua of Surigao del Sur; Mandaya of the Surigao provinces and Davao Oriental; Manobo Blit of South Cotabato; the Mangguangon of Davao and South Cotabato; Matigsalog of Davao del Norte and Del Sur; Tagakaolo, Tasaday and Ubo of South Cotabato; and Bagobo of Davao del sur and South Cotabato.
10. In Region XII-- Ilianen, Tiruray, Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, Yakan/Samal, and Iranon.
The way this is going we could have 110 separate little BJE-type homelands instead of ONE COUNTRY.