Monday, August 4, 2008

The Sultanic Verses

UPDATE: The Supreme Court has issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the reported signing of a Bangsamoro homeland deal between the government and the MILF.

A Memorandum of Agreement has been published purporting to be the compact that the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will sign with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Malaysia tomorrow. (PDF) The matter has raised a howl of protest from a broad swathe of Philippine society, after copies of it circulated late last week. The provisions in the MOA explain why the Palace has been moving heaven and earth in a now futile attempt to postpone the August 2008 ARMM elections because if the elections move forward and a new set of local officials are elected in ARMM, there is no credible way for the Palace to deliver on its deal with the MILF, as Opposition spokesman Adel Tamano pointed out on the noon time news on ANC.

The gerrymandering of the present ARMM into the more grandiose concept of a Bangsamoro Homeland (in which the MNLF will be delivered into the hands of their mortal enemies in the MILF!), would become virtually impossible to do. Now it turns out that the MILF want not only Nur Misuari's tribes to be suborned to them, but all of Mindanao's Indigenous Peoples, together with their lands and domains, to be united under "the suzerain authority" of a modern Moro Sultanate, in the guise of the MILF itself!
From the GRP-MILF MOA: CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES

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 of its descendants whether mixed or of full blood. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected.
CAVEAT: Considering that there are actually 110 named Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, it borders on the megalomaniac for the MILF to claim as "Bangsamoros" all those that happen to be in Mindanao. Indeed from Minda News, here is the answer to the MILF from the Manobo, Talaandig, Pulangiyon, Mamanwa, Bla'an, Dibabawon, Mandaya, T'boli, Tagabawa-Bagobo, Erumanen-Menuvu, Higa-onon and Subanon and other indigenous peoples who may not want to have anything to do with their Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. These were the very lumads that the Moro sultanates were predators of. Why should we, or they, agree to fall under the thrall of "sacred inequality" again?
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.
CAVEAT: The claim to being "the first politically organized dominant occupants" is specious and subject to questions of historical veracity and relevance. The Philippine Constitution does not recognize any such criterion for awarding the "ownership of the homeland" to any body of people, sizeable or not, dominant or not.
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 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.
CAVEAT: The claim that ancestral lands and domains never fell into the public domain is the conceptual centerpiece and rhetorical piece-de-resistance of the Supreme Court's December 2000 ruling on the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. This law purports to reverse alleged injustices done throughout centuries of imperial colonialism and democratic republicanism in one fell swoop of historico-legal revision and expiation. But it defies logic why this should now lead to the restoration of the immoral, if not suzerain authority of slave-trading, human trafficking Moro sultanates:
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 distinct dominant people.
CAVEAT: The claim made above that the Moro sultanates were endowed with all the elements of a modern state is extravagant and immodest. The historical record contains a much less flattering description. It is also highly doubtful that we, the Filipino People, want to yield to the suzerainty of some restored version of the old Maguindanao Sultanates and certainly NOT to "establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to them as distinct dominant people."

Prof. Thomas McKenna of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, tells the story of SHARIFF KABUNSUAN, the legendary founder of the Maguindanao Sultanates in what is now Cotabato Province.
The coming of Sarip Kabungsuwan to Cotabato is the charter event for the claims of the rulers of Cotabato in the historical period to nobility and moral authority. The story of the arrival of Sarip Kabungsuwan is told in the tarsilas , the written genealogies that link the royal houses of Cotabato with their progenitor. The term "tarsila" is derived from the Arabic "silsila," meaning name-chain, and the genealogical accounts in the Magindanaon tarsilas not only linked living datus with Sarip Kabungsuwan, their apical ancestor, but also contained supplementary sections tracing the ancestry of Sarip Kabungsuwan to the Prophet Muhammad. The tarsilas were written on paper in Magindanaon or Malay in Arabic script and were possessed by the sultans and all leading datus. Individual tarsilas were frequently recopied for updating or to replace worn copies.

According to the tarsilas, Sarip Kabungsuwan was the son of Jusul Asikin, the daughter of the Sultan of Johore, and Sarip Ali Zain-ul Abiden from Mecca. Thus, Kabungsuwan was the offspring of a princess of the Melaka royal family and, more significantly, the son of a sharif (the original Arabic form of "Sarip"), and hence a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. [Majul (1973)] suggests that the historic Kabungsuwan must have sailed to Mindanao some time after 1511, when the Melaka royal family, to which his mother belonged, was driven from Melaka by the Portuguese and established a sultanate in Johore.

The tarsilas relate how Kabungsuwan arrived by chance at the mouth of the Pulangi River and began to convert local chieftains and their followers to Islam. He married the daughters of some of these chieftains, thus establishing in Mindanao a barabangsa, or royal lineage, whose members claimed a sacred genealogy, tracing their origins to the Prophet Muhammad. The tarsilas report that the first wife married by Sarip Kabungsuwan in Cotabato (Putri Tunina) was found in a bamboo stalk. Kabungsuwan's son, Sarip Makaalang, married a woman who emerged from a crow's egg. The existence of these supernatural children raised the status of the female descent line, thus further distinguishing the barabangsa line from autochthonous lineages.[12]

Sarip Kabungsuwan founded the Magindanao Sultanate at the coast and his rule passed to his son, Sarip Makaalang. The upstream Buayan Sultanate originated, according to the tarsilas, from a union between the daughter of Sarip Kabungsuwan and a Buayan chieftain. Because the male descent line carries more genealogical weight than the female, the Magindanao Sultanate was able to designate itself the premier royal house of Cotabato, while the rulers of Buayan for most of its history used the title raja (prince) rather than sultan.[13] The traditional system of hereditary ranked statuses is also traced to the arrival of Kabungsuwan. This system, in its most general configuration, comprised four tiers. At the apex were the datus—rulers or descendants of rulers. Their ascendant status stemmed from Sarip Kabungsuwan's assumption of sovereignty over Muslim Mindanao (and its dependencies) and from their ability to trace descent from Kabungsuwan and, through him, to the first ruler of Muslims, the prophet Muhammad.
WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY DID THE BANGSAMORO SULTANATES MAINTAIN?

Prof. McKenna further describes the four tiers of the hierarchical society of the Maguinandanao Sultanates:
The traditional system of hereditary ranked statuses is also traced to the arrival of Kabungsuwan. This system, in its most general configuration, comprised four tiers. At the apex were the datus—rulers or descendants of rulers. Their ascendant status stemmed from Sarip Kabungsuwan's assumption of sovereignty over Muslim Mindanao (and its dependencies) and from their ability to trace descent from Kabungsuwan and, through him, to the first ruler of Muslims, the prophet Muhammad.[14]

Passing over, for a moment, the second level, we find on the third tier the endatuan , meaning literally "those who are ruled." The endatuan were the subjects of datus rather than of the realm; they were considered residents of particular ingeds (settlements) and subordinate to specific datus. The status of the endatuan seems to have been negatively defined. They were the followers of (and likely bore some kinship relation to) local chieftains. But unlike their rulers, they were unable to demonstrate sufficient kinship links with Sarip Kabungsuwan, the prime datu ancestor, to qualify as datus.

The second tier was occupied by the dumatus. This intermediate status has not been reported for other Philippine Muslim populations. The dumatus, as they describe themselves today, were neither datu nor endatuan—neither rulers nor ruled. The dumatus are the descendants of Tabunaway, a legendary Magindanaon chieftain who welcomed Sarip Kabungsuwan to Cotabato. The tarsilas record that Tabunaway acknowledged the sovereignty of Sarip Kabungsuwan and his descendants in exchange for certain privileges. The first entitlement was that neither he nor his descendants would pay tribute to any datu. Hadji Abbas expressed the distinction between endatuan and dumatu in his inged this way: "At harvest time the datu sent sacks to the endatuan who were obliged to fill all the sacks the datu gave them. The dumatus were not sent sacks and did not have to provide rice to the datu." The second dumatu entitlement was that no datu could be proclaimed as sultan without the participation of a Tabunaway descendent.[15] The dumatus have kept their own genealogical records of the Tabunaway descent line, principally to preserve their privileges vis-à-vis the Magindanaon aristocracy. Theirs is the only tarsila in Cotabato that does not trace descent from Sarip Kabungsuwan. The special status of Tabunaway descendants has allowed them to maintain, more so than any other group, their separate bangsa by remaining ancestor focused, self-ruled, and relatively corporate.


The fourth and lowest tier comprised the ulipun , or "disfranchised" (W. H. Scott 1982, 142) persons.[16] Ulipun were debt-bondsmen whose unfree status resulted from punishment for a legal offense, from failure to pay tribute or repay a debt, or from being sold by relatives (or occasionally by self-sale) into servitude in times of economic crisis. Ulipun status, unlike the other three estates, was, in general, neither ascribed nor permanent. It could, however, be inherited and, in practice, the system inhibited self-redemption by debt-bondsmen, probably because datus favored maintaining a high proportion of bound followers. As Warren (1981) describes the system of debt slavery in another Philippine Muslim polity—the Sulu Sultanate—the debt-bondsman's service to his creditor "did not generally count towards repayment of his debt" (1981, 216). Ulipun status was likely similar in most respects to the position of debt-bondsman described by Warren. Despite their inferior status, the ulipun, as Magindanaons and Muslims, were societal insiders and possessed certain rights, including the right to own chattel slaves (banyaga ). Those ulipun who were members of a datu's retinue were treated as household dependents and were occasionally able to rise to positions of significant responsibility. Banyaga, on the other hand, were despised outlanders who were not included in the system of social rank. They were captives acquired for the most part outside the territory of the sultanates, were usually not Muslims, and had no recognized rights and no social status other than as acquired persons—the property of others.[17]

The central organizing principle of this system of ranked statuses was maratabat (from the Arabic "martabat," or "rank"). Among the Magindanaon, "maratabat" primarily connotes rank arid secondarily the honor due to rank. Maratabat is the quantifiable essence of status rank and is measured most commonly as a monetary valuation when determining the proper amount of bridewealth (bantingan ) to be exchanged at marriage or the amount of wergild (bangun ) required to avert a feud. It is expressed generally as a gradation of four standard sums required for bridewealth within each of the four ranked estates; datu maratabat is valued at one thousand units, that of dumatus at seven hundred, the maratabat of the endatuan at five hundred, and that of ulipun at three hundred units. These quantities were expressed to me in Philippine pesos by informants but almost certainly referred originally to Mexican silver dollars, used as media of interregional exchange in Southeast Asia as recently as the early American period (Forrest 1969, 279; Gullick 1958, 20 n. 1; Miller 1913, 341).[18]

It was surely in honor of this revered ancestor and forefather of the Bangsamoro People that the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao's regional legislative assembly caused the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan. Much has been made of the fact that plebiscites are being proposed and will be used to determine if local political subdivisions such as cities and provinces agree to be included in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. However, it is instructive to take note of a recent Supreme Court decision that voided as patently unconstitutional, the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabunsuan even if the same was approved by a plebiscite among the involved municipalities and established by law by the legislative assembly of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In this case, the High Court ruled, righteously in my opinion, that the regional legislature of ARMM could not enact laws that would result in changes to the membership and composition of the House of Representatives, which is an organ of the national government. This shows the limitation of local or partial plebiscites in ratifying acts of local and autonomous government units.
FULL TEXT OF THE DRAFT MOA: The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) herein referred to as the “Parties” to this Agreement.

Terms of Reference

The context of referents follows:

The Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities dated July 18, 1997 Between the GRP and the MILF, and its Implementing Administrative and Operational Guidelines;

The General Framework of Agreement of Intent Between the GRP and the MILF dated August 27, 1998;

The Agreement on the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks Between the GRP and the MILF dated March 24, 2001;

The Tripoli Agreement on Peace Between the GRP and the MILF dated June 22, 2001;

The Tripoli Agreement Between the GRP and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) dated December 23, 1976 and the Final Agreement on the Implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement Between the GRP and the MNLF dated September 2, 1996;

Republic Act No. 6734, as amended by R.A. 9054, otherwise known as “An Act to Strengthen and Expand the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)”;

ILO Convention No. 169, in correlation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, and Republic Act No. 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, the UN Charter; the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and internationally recognized human rights instruments; and

Compact rights entrenchment emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua’hada (or territory under compact) and dar-ul-sulh (or territory under peace agreement) that partakes the nature of a treaty device. For the purpose of this Agreement, a “treaty” is defined as any solemn agreement in writing that sets out understanding, obligations, and benefits for both parties which provides for a framework that elaborates the principles declared in the Agreement.

Have agreed and acknowledged as follows:


CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES

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 of its descendants whether mixed or of full blood. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected.

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 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 distinct dominant people.

5. Both Parties affirm their commitment to mutually respect the right to one’s identity and the parity of esteem of everyone in the political community. The protection of civil rights and religious liberties of individuals underlie the basis of peace and justice of their totality of relationships.

6. Both Parties agree that the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) shall have the authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral lands, including both alienable and non-alienable lands encompassed within their homeland and ancestral history, as well as the delineation of ancestral domain/lands of the Bangsamoro people located therein.

7. Vested property rights upon the entrenchment of the BJE shall be recognized and respected subject to paragraph 9 of the strand on Resources.

TERRITORY

1. The Bangsamoro homeland and historic territory refer to the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain, the atmospheric space above it, embracing the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan geographic region. However, delimitations are contained in the agreed Schedules (Categories).

2. Toward this end, the Parties entered into the following stipulations:

a. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the Parties to this Agreement commit themselves to the full and mutual implementation of this framework agreement on territory with the aim of resolving outstanding issues that emanate from the consensus points on Ancestral Domain.

b. The Parties confirm their understanding that the mutual goal of reaching an agreement on Bangsamoro territory specific to mapping the outlying borders and the boundaries affecting local government units will lead to consolidation of the agreed texts on the Ancestral Domain Strands.

c. The Parties affirm that the core of the BJE shall constitute the present geographic area of the ARMM, including the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite;

d. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements, the government stipulates to conduct and deliver, within six (6) months following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, a plebiscite covering the areas as enumerated in the list and depicted in the map as Category A attached herein (the “Annex”). The Annex constitutes an integral part of this framework agreement.

e. The areas covered by Category B has already been reflected on a map and officially agreed by both Parties.

f. Internal Waters:
The Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) shall have jurisdiction over the management, conservation, development, protection, utilization and disposition of all natural resources, living and non-living, within its internal waters extending fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline of the BJE area.

g. Territorial Waters:
(1) The territorial waters of the BJE shall stretch beyond the BJE internal waters up to the Republic of the Philippines (RP) baselines south east and south west of mainland Mindanao. Beyond the fifteen (15) kilometers internal waters, the Central Government and the BJE shall exercise joint jurisdiction, authority and management over areas and [of] all natural resources, living and non-living contained therein. The details of such management of the Territorial Waters shall be provided in an agreement to be entered into by the Parties.

(2) The boundaries of the territorial waters shall stretch beyond the 15-km BJE internal waters up to the Central government’s baselines under existing laws. In the southern and eastern part of the BJE, it shall be demarcated by a line drawn from the Maguling Point, Palimbang, Province of Sultan Kudarat up to the straight baselines of the Philippines. On the northwestern part, it shall be demarcated by a line drawn from Little Sta. Cruz Island, Zamboanga City, up to Naris Point, Bataraza, Palawan. On the western part of Palawan, it shall be demarcated by a line drawn from the boundary of Bataraza and Rizal up to the straight baselines of the Philippines.

The final demarcation shall be determined by a joint technical body composed of duly-designated representatives of both Parties, in coordination with the appropriate Central Government agency in accordance with the above guidelines.

h. Sharing of Minerals on Territorial Waters:
Consistent with paragraphs 5 and 6 of the provisions on Resources, all potential sources of energy, petroleum in situ, hydrocarbon, natural gas and other minerals, including deposits or fields found within the territorial waters, shall be shared between the Central Government and the BJE in favor of the latter through production sharing agreement or economic cooperative agreement.

i. Activities Allowed on Territorial Waters:

(1) The Parties shall have authority to carry out the following activities within the territorial waters:

(a) Exploration and utilization of the natural resources, whether living or non-living within the territorial waters;

(b) Establishments and use of artificial islands, installations and structures;

(c) Marine scientific research;

(d) Protection and the preservation of the marine environment;

(e) Conservation of living resources;

(f) Regulation of shipping and fishing activities;

(g) Enforcement of police and safety measures, including interdiction of the entry and use of the waters by criminal elements and hot pursuit of suspected criminal elements;

(h) Regulation and control of contraband and illegal entry of prohibited materials and substances, including smuggling; and

(i) Such other measures as the Parties may otherwise mutually agree.

(2) Activities relating to exploration and utilization of non-living resources, as well as paragraphs (c) and (d) of the Authorized Activities will be carried out on a joint basis agreed by the Parties which may be in the form of production sharing agreements or joint development pacts.

j. Establishment of a Joint Commission:

(1) The Parties shall establish a Joint Commission, which shall elaborate the modalities for the implementation and the carrying out of the Authorized Activities and the measures adopted in cases of allegation of breach, and carry out any other functions which may be assigned to it by the Parties for the purpose of implementing the joint management of resources.

(2) The Joint Commission shall consist of one representative from each Party, who are assisted by advisers as may be needed. The conclusions of the Joint Commission shall be adopted by consensus and shall only be recommendatory in nature. Only when the conclusions of the Joint Commission are adopted by the Parties do they become binding on the Parties.

k. Demarcation and Status of Territorial Waters:

The demarcation and status of the BJE territorial waters shall be finally determined together with the demarcation and final status of Category B of the BJE.

3. From and after entrenchment of compact rights over the Bangsamoro homeland and the territorial jurisdictions for associative governance shall likewise embrace those under proclamation for agricultural and human settlements intended for the Bangsamoro people, all alienable and disposable land, pasture lands, timberlands together with all existing civil and military reservations, parks, old growth or natural forests declared as forest reserves, watersheds, mangroves, fishponds, wetlands, marshes, inland bodies of water and all bays, straits and channels found within the BJE.

4. All territorial and geographic areas in Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago that have been recognized, and/or delineated as ancestral domain and ancestral land of the Bangsamoro people as their geographic areas, inclusive of settlements and reservations, may be formed or constituted into political subdivisions of the Bangsamoro territorial jurisdictions subject to the principles of equality of peoples and mutual respect and to the protection of civil, political, economic, and cultural rights in their respective jurisdictions.

5. For purposes of territorial delimitation, the Parties have agreed to the joint determination of geographic areas encompassed within the territorial borders of the Bangsamoro homeland and territory based on the technical maps and data submitted by both sides as provided above.

RESOURCES

1. The Bangsamoro juridical entity is empowered with authority and responsibility for the land use, development, conservation and disposition of the natural resources within the homeland. Upon entrenchment of the Bangsamoro juridical entity, the land tenure and use of such resources and wealth must reinforce their economic self-sufficiency. Among the purposes or measures to make progress more rapid are:

a. Entry into joint development, utilization, and exploitation of natural resources designed as commons or shared resources, which is tied up to the full setting of appropriate institution, particularly affecting strategic minerals.

b. Stimulation of local economy by a range of mechanism, in particular the need to address unemployment and improvement of living conditions for the population in the Bangsamoro juridical entity;

c. Intensification of measures needed to uproot the cause of poverty in the Bangsamoro juridical entity through responsible harnessing and development of its natural resources; and

d. Undertaking program review of public services, industrial or trade-related and agrarian-related issues in situations of different sectors of the society in the Bangsamoro juridical entity, which acquire communal character deriving from the special nature of their industry.

2. The Bangsamoro People through their appropriate juridical entity shall, among others, exercise power or authority over the natural resources within its territorial jurisdiction:

a. To explore, exploit, use or utilize and develop their ancestral domain and ancestral lands within their territorial jurisdiction, inclusive of their right of occupation, possession, conservation, and exploitation of all natural resources found therein;
b. To conserve and protect the human and natural environment for their sustainable and beneficial enjoyment and their posterity;

c. To utilize, develop, and exploit its natural resources found in their ancestral domain or may enter into a joint development, utilization, and exploitation of natural resources, specifically on strategic minerals, designed as commons or shared resources, which is tied up to the final setting of appropriate institution.

d. To revoke or grant forest concessions, timber license, contracts or agreements in the utilization and exploitation of natural resources designated as commons or shared resources, mechanisms for economic cooperation with respect to strategic minerals, falling within the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro juridical entity;

e. To enact agrarian laws and programs suitable to the special circumstances of the Bangsamoro people prevailing in their ancestral lands within the established territorial boundaries of the Bangsamoro homeland and ancestral territory is within the competence of the Bangsamoro juridical entity; and

f. To use such natural resources and wealth to reinforce their economic self-sufficiency.

3. The Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, and the Central Government agree on wealth-sharing based on a mutually agreed percentage ratio in favor of the Bangsamoro juridical entity through an economic cooperation agreement or arrangement over the income and revenues that are derived from the exploration, exploitation, use and development of any resources for the benefit of the Bangsamoro people.

4. The Bangsamoro juridical entity is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries: provided, however, that such relationships and understandings do not include aggression against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines; provided, further that it shall remain the duty and obligation of the Central Government to take charge of external defense. Without prejudice to the right of the Bangsamoro juridical entity to enter into agreement and environmental cooperation with any friendly country affecting its jurisdiction, it shall include:

a. the option to establish and open Bangsamoro trade missions in foreign countries with which it has economic cooperation agreements; and

b. the elements bearing in mind the mutual benefits derived from Philippine archipelagic status and security.

And, in furtherance thereto, the Central Government shall take necessary steps to ensure the Bangsamoro juridical entity’s participation in international meetings and events, e.g. ASEAN meetings and other specialized agencies of the United Nations. This shall entitle the said juridical entity participation in Philippine official missions and delegations that are engaged in the negotiation of border agreements or protocols for environmental protection, equitable sharing of incomes and revenues, in the areas of sea, seabed and inland seas or bodies of water adjacent to or between islands forming part of the ancestral domain, in addition to those of fishing rights.

5. Jurisdiction and control over, and the right of exploring for, exploiting, producing and obtaining all potential sources of energy, petroleum, in situ, fossil fuel, mineral oil and natural gas, whether onshore or offshore, is vested in the Bangsamoro juridical entity as the party having control within its territorial jurisdiction, provided that in times of national emergency, when public interest so requires, the Central Government may, during the emergency, for a fixed period and under reasonable terms as may be agreed by both Parties, temporarily assume or direct the operations of such strategic resources.

6. The Bangsamoro government-take or profit split from total production shall be shared with the Central Government on a percentage ratio of 75%/25% in favor of the Bangsamoro juridical entity. All royalties, bonuses, taxes, charges, custom duties or imposts on natural resources and mineral resources shall be shared by the Parties on a percentage ratio of 75%/25% in favor of the Bangsamoro juridical entity.

7. The legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people arising from any unjust dispossession of their territorial and propriety rights, customary land tenures, or their marginalization shall be acknowledged. Whenever restoration is no longer possible, the GRP shall take effective measures of adequate reparation collectively beneficial to the Bangsamoro people, in such quality, quantity and status to be determined mutually by both Parties.

8. All proclamations, issuances, policies, rules and guidelines declaring old growth or natural forests and all watersheds within the BJE as forest reserves shall continue to remain in force until otherwise modified, revised or superseded by subsequent policies, rules and regulations issued by the competent Bangsamoro authority or juridical entity.

9. Forest concessions, timber licenses, contracts or agreements, mining concessions, Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements (MPSA), Industrial Forest Management Agreements (IFMA), and other land tenure instruments of any kind or nature whatsoever granted by the Philippine Government including those issued by the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall continue to operate from the date of formal entrenchment of the Bangsamoro juridical entity unless otherwise expired, reviewed, modified and/or cancelled by the latter.

10. The Parties recognized an immediate need to establish a five-member Bangsamoro economic-expert mission (the “Mission”) bearing in mind that the functioning of the economy and the operation of institutions involve financial and other resource management as well as parallel or complementary means, by which the Bangsamoro Development Agency will manage and administer resources acquired for the above purposes, especially in coordinating strategies and programs for cooperation in all fields.

11. The said Mission acts as a link in the conduct of Bangsamoro juridical entity’s associative parallel relationships and shall cooperate fully with all organizations involved in implementation of the peace settlement. It shall launch a plan and joint international appeal for the repatriation and development of the conflict affected areas in Mindanao. Persons appointed thereto must be familiar with the specific economic, political and legal characteristics in the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan region and must possess recognized competence, integrity, and high moral standing.

12. Cognizant that the Bangsamoro economic-expert Mission will benefit from international expertise, both the Central Government and the BJE hereby join the Third Party facilitator in inviting international funding institutions or equivalent entities for reconstruction and development to appoint two members and to designate one as the Chairman. The BJE shall designate one member as Co-Chairman. The remaining two members shall each be designated by the Central Government and the BJE.

GOVERNANCE

1. The recognition and peaceful resolution of the conflict must involve consultations with the Bangsamoro people free of any imposition in order to provide chances of success and open new formulas that permanently respond to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

1. 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. The parties respect the freedom of choice of the indigenous peoples.

3. The Parties agree to invite a multinational third-party to observe and monitor the actual implementation of the comprehensive compact which will embody the details for the effective enforcement of this Agreement. The participation of the third-party shall not in any way affect the status of the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE.

4. The relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro juridical entity shall be associative characterized by shared authority and responsibility with a structure of governance based on executive, legislative, judicial and administrative institutions with defined powers and functions in the comprehensive compact. A period of transition shall be established in a comprehensive peace compact specifying the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE.

5. The modalities for the governance intended to settle the outstanding negotiated political issues are deferred after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

The establishment of institutions for governance in a comprehensive peace compact, together with its modalities during the transition period, shall be fully entrenched and established in the basic law of the Bangsamoro juridical entity. The Parties shall faithfully comply with their commitment to the associative arrangements upon entry into force of a comprehensive compact between the MILF and GRP.

7. The Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA AD shall be spelt out in the comprehensive compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively.

Any provisions of the MOA on Ancestral Domain requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon signing of a comprehensive compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the comprehensive compact.

8. The parties agree that the BJE shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, inclusive of, civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions, necessary for developing a progressive Bangsamoro society the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact.

9. The Parties further agree to undertake activities which will enhance the capacity of the government institutions during the transition through technical assistance, information-sharing and human resource development.

10. Matters concerning the details of the agreed consensus points on Governance not covered under this Agreement shall be deferred to, and discussed during, the negotiations of the comprehensive compact.


READINGS:

Islamic Rule in Cotabato (read by Dean Jorge Bocobo)

European Impositions and the Myth of Morohood (read by Dean Jorge Bocobo)

18 comments:

blackshama said...

Notice how this MOA used the words "central government"?

This suggests that the BJE is on an equal footing with the government elected by the Filipino people. This MOA has for all intents and purposes recognizes the belligerent status of the MILF! Pope Jose Maria I and the CPP-NDF cardinals of the politburo are probably aghast that they never got this recognition!

The MOA defines the Bangsamoro "nation". The question is whether they can be considered as a First Nation. Were they a nation BEFORE Islam came to Mindanao? Or were they tribes with an incepient political organization that were suzerain to the more politically organized and sophisticated Sultnates in Borneo?

No wonder the Sultan of Sulu isn't amused!

The EQualizer said...

Our country is on the verge of dismemberment with the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity( BMJE).

Pedestrian Observer GB said...

Gloria Arroyo's peace effort will actually trigger a horrendous escalation of violence on a wider scale........ now how pathetic can they get.

Anonymous said...

no amount of explanation can convince "men of letters" as their common sense to grasp ordinary things normally, let alone their responsible discretion, is shut down permanently by their inveterate discrimination which they shield it maliciously behind the garb of their so-called "enlightenment. " the Bangsamoro has left no stones unturned just to explain to anyone her rightful claim. Hence, the Bangsamoro owes nobody anymore of this obligation. these men's problem is to reconcile the truth of things with their fanatical prejudice. let these men this time boil into pathological derangement either in grasping or in eschewing the veracity of the Bangsamoro claim. that is their problem, not the Bangsamoros'.

abet cariño said...

To all Non-Moros in Mindanao and elsewhere, don't worry about the BJE, or the MOA on ancestral domain. Your government, I mean the Philippine Christian Government, never had the capacity to honor, much more implement religiously all agreements with the Moros, or any non-Christian groups in the Philippines!The government will never implement it. Just take a look at the Tripoli Agreement, 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, etc, etc... You will still have your lands most of which were grabbed by your ancestor-settlers aka occupiers ..... but in return never ever expect PEACE from the people whose rights you continue to trample upon!

To all war-mongers in Luzon,come to Mindanao and see the war you wish to perpetuate, rather than just brazenly sit their in your comfortable couches!

DJB Rizalist said...

Abet,
All Filipinos have suffered. I don't see why Moros should be treated any differently than everybody else. And let's not forget, the Maguindanao sultanates oppressed and enslaved their own people, along with the Visayans and Luzon inhabitants they kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery. But don't worry, we won't allow the Moros to be re-enslaved by a restored human trafficking state like the BJE.

blackshama said...

Abet:

My father was raised in Sulu. My uncles were raised in Mindanao. I have family ties to Mindanao and was there just five days ago. Believe me a habal-habal ride on rough roads is not a comfortable couch!

My father and uncles considered their years in Mindanao as the best and most peaceful in their lives.

Now my relatives all Mindanaoans have been on the island for 90 years. Call them Ilocano if you will, but they are not from Luzon and they can't identify with Luzon. None of them are war mongers and HAVE LIVED PEACEABLY WITH MUSLIMS FOR AT LEAST A HUNDRED YEARS! A few of them converted to Islam and this is respected.

The seeds for the Balkanization of Mindanao are there. The idea that the so called Arroyo "Christian" government has done this MOA without consultation with Mindanao citizens and the rest of the Philippine nation is very offensive. Is Arroyo lighting a fuse that she can't stop and all this because she wants to hold on to power?

The citizens of Mindanao, irregardless of religion deserve an honest answer. The MILF needs to answer that question too.

What has Moro autonomy done for Mindanao and Sulu,and for Muslims? In Tawi Tawi, my Muslim friends have told me that by the only tangible result of the GRP-MNLF agreement and ARMM is a tricycle stop in Bongao! Will Moro autonomy liberate Muslims or further enslave them?

I think Filipinos,irregardless of belief, for that matter deserve an answer!

danilo ignacio said...

Dean, You really need to know history as you confessed you “don't see why Moros should be treated any differently than everybody else.” Please read and re-read history how foreign colonizers and their Filipino heirs this time who inherited the colonial legacy later on treated the Moros not just differently but cruelly as what their colonial masters’ did to them. Please read and re-read the accounts how the Moro people have been systematically disenfranchised of their lands and political system through cajolery or incessant colonial warfares conducted against them. See too how they withstand against the continuous scorching tide of today’s neo-colonization i.e. Filipinism. This way you can perhaps understand why we Moros should be treated this time this different way. Perhaps that way, you can realize that government’s giving in to the Moro people’s demand for ancestral domain is never a matter of privilege but a return instead of the age-old rights over their homeland immorally usurped and denied to them.

And you also said, “And let's not forget, the Maguindanao sultanates oppressed and enslaved their own people, along with the Visayans and Luzon inhabitants they kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery.” Well, it is understandable because, as you are writing from a “physicist perspective of history,” it is the same as you don’t really read history. I am generously referring you to the early part of Renato Constantino’s Vol. 1 Philippine History book, “The Philippines: A Past Revisited,” so you can have some “scholarly” insights as to the difference between the “slavery” in Muslim society and the “slavery” that you think of. You can also proceed reading even further in there so you may have also another “scholarly” insights why Moros raided Christianized communities which were in reality vassals therefore forward military bases of Spaniards in their military campaign to contain and subjugate the Muslim south.
Blackshama, if you think of the present-day ARMM as the embodiment of the Moro autonomy as you say but Moro independence I may say, then it’s really hopeless. ARMM is structurally handicap; it is no autonomy at all; no regional governor sits in the ARMM without the blessings, let alone anointment of the Malacanang beforehand. It seems officials in there are selected and appointed by the Malacanang in the crafty guise of election. You see had ARMM been successful in resolving the age-old conflict here in Mindanao, then we can no longer hear today of the Moros’ expression of discontent which most of the time violent. Had the national government been sincere in the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF, then the problem is solved.
BTW, who made the ARMM this inutile and corrupt political set-up? Wasn't it that R.A. 6734 was legislated to give way to an Organic Act that shall define the ARMM? Wasn't it that it was later amended by R.A. 9054, as one of those essential provisions in the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement which the government says, "strengthened" and "expanded" the ARMM? And who makes these into laws? Isn't it the senate and the congress? Who implements these laws” Isn't it the government all by itself, though the FPA is a bilateral agreement? In fact it was approved by default due to PGMA's failure to veto or approve it. Perhaps she just wanted to wash her hands to take exception from the deception inherent in the FPA; or, perhaps but because she can not stomach those deceptions inherent in the letters and spirit, more so in intentions inside R.A. 9054. But NO! She really, and the government, let it that way, huh! As such, if the GRP-MNLF FPA failed, it was not because mainly of the MNLF; it was rather because of the GRP who implemented it unilaterally the way it exactly wanted which undermined in reality both the letters and spirit of such an agreement.

But things such as the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement, and today's always stalled GRP-MILF peace talks are great things to be proud of by us. These things, on the other side, BUT reflect not only the Moro people's enlightenment of their claim over their rights as other free and civilized people on earth do have but also and more importantly these are material manifestation of the Moro people's inherent inclination to peace despite having suffered much from "unpeace" being imported to them for several centuries.
Now therefore, if there are people who are in the right position and moral ascendancy to call for peace and end once and for all this son…war, then it should be the Moro people who have been a victim of “unpeace” for so long a time. This “unpeace” has been imported and brought right in their communities since time immemorial.

danilo ignacio said...

A touch of history for blackshama culled from, the "BANGSAMORO HISTORY AS WRITTEN WITHIN THE NEO-COLONIAL FRAMEWORK OF FILIPINO ASSIMILATIONIST
HISTORIOGRAPHY"

"SOME DISCREPANCIES IN THE PHILIPPINE HISTORY

Before taking on the task of drawing the thick line that defines the uniqueness, difference and disconnection between the Bangsamoro history and Filipino history, which is the main crux of contention of this treatise, it is required to have few quotes from local and foreign historians through their own writings on Filipino history. In their attempts to trace and write the pre-colonial past of today’s Philippines their own respective perspectives and frameworks, they have instead perpetrated many historical inconsistencies along the process, rendering essentially the entire transcription of such specific episode of Philippine history completely absurd. Such careless efforts have displaced Filipino history away from its proper context.

A meticulous survey reveals these serious inconsistencies and obvious contradictions and it is heartrending or disconcerting that mostly no less than established authors and historians perpetuate these contradictions and inconsistencies which are continuously taught in colleges and universities, or even in elementary and high schools. As it has been said, essentially these historical discrepancies render history absurd to read on, its credibility and accuracy an idiocy to consider and rely upon.

Specifically, many irreconcilable and self-contradictory phrases i.e. a word incongruently attached to the other are coined superfluously, making the entire juxtaposition utterly inconsistent to what it is wished to mean by these, therefore obscuring even more and departing from the realistic presentation of history. These are but age-old scholarly mistakes that immorally consign Philippine history into a mythical script held unchecked even to the present.

A. “Pre-Hispanic Filipinos?”

For example, in his “Readings in Philippine History,” Horacio dela Costa, S.J. has written: “The earliest Filipinos (italics mine) of whom we have historical record are the little black men whom the Spaniards called negrillos of nergrito”, p. Also, in page 111 of his book “The Making of a Nation: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Filipino Nationalism,” John N. Schumacher, S.J. writes, “…the blood compact made by Magellan and Legaspi with early Filipino datus (italics mine) according to the pre-Hispanic custom…” This may lead us to ask, were there early Filipinos before (or right at) the coming of the Spaniards? Had this nationality been existent in the Islands (i.e. now Philippines) before the winds of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans steered the Spanish sails accidentally and docked their galleons at our shores? Were these people whom the Spaniards landed at and met aware of such nationality nominated for and imposed upon them? If such is the case, the Spaniards would had already called these “early Filipinos” as such instead of negrillos or negritos. Had it been so there would be no necessity today to impose such contentious nationality and fit it into today’s “Filipinos” through fabulous scholarly semantics and shuffling of historical premises to justify it.

Meanwhile, through his anthropological approach to Philippine history, F. Landa Jocano has written similar contradictory phrases in his book “Filipino Prehistory: Anthropology of the Filipino People, Recovering Pre-colonial Heritage” e.g. “ancient Filipinos” (p.2), “prehistoric Filipinos” (p.42) or “prehistoric Filipino population” (p.48). Incongruent conjunction of contradictory terms such as these phrases instead make the transcription of Philippine history anthropologically absurd. Is there anything such as “prehistoric Filipinos?”
It is even more shocking when looking at the schematic diagram proposed by Jocano in p. 60 in explaining the evolution of man and his culture in the island Southeast Asia wherein in his classification and enumeration of contemporary ethnic groupings according to age of emergence, he placed Filipinos in roughly 1600. Is Filipino already existent during that period? Wasn’t it contrived only during the later part of the 19th century while the Propaganda Movement was on its flowering height? Also, has Filipino an ethnicity? Is it of ethnic origin? When was “Filipino” originally coined and who were the original proprietors of such nationality?

This absurdity is even highlighted, rendering therefore his entire transcription of Philippine history ridiculous when Jocano wrote in p. 66 of his abovementioned book: “…to characterized the degree of civilization the ancient Filipinos had before the coming of the Spaniards.” In p. 153 of the same book, he also wrote: “Available archeological materials and accounts of early Spanish chroniclers document the complexities of Filipino life ways beginning from the 14th through the 16th centuries, 200 years prior to the coming of the Spaniards (italics mine),” complementing what had been done by Gregorio Zaide in his book Philippine Political and Cultural History (1957) where he expressed the same incongruous terms i.e. prehispanic Filipinos. Juxtaposing now the phrase “ancient Filipinos” with the phrase “before the coming of Spaniards,” the absurdity and inconsistency show and glow crystal-clear since there would be no Filipino at all had the Spaniards not come here in this Far East.

This leads us to ask again: Is there such a thing as precolonial Filipinos before the coming of the Spaniards? (Jocano: p.182). Is the formation of Filipino nationality separate from Spanish colonization? Could there be Filipino without Spanish invasion? Would there be Felipinas had not the Spanish Crown sent successive military expeditions to these Islands? Isn’t it that Filipino and Spanish colonization are mutually inclusive to each other? Is Filipino not related directly to Spanish colonization? Isn’t Filipino the brainchild of Spanish conquest?

Meanwhile, the title of William Henry Scott’s book Looking for the Prehispanic Filipinos is paradoxical itself to the objective it has pursued. Again, there is no such a thing as “preHispanic Filipinos,” or Manolo O. Vano’s “pre-Spanish Filipinos” (in p. 33 of the book Resistance and Revolution: Philippine Archipelago in Arms published by the National Commission for Culture and Arts). Filipino was just coined only when the Spaniards “accidentally” come here in the archipelago. But was it the real Spanish intention that the natives be eventually called “Filipinos” once they put themselves under the Cross? Again, was it the exact name the Spaniards called on these native converts after their proselytization into Catholicism? Wasn’t it that even Spaniards themselves were ignorant of the term until the historical turn of the late 19th century in the Islands when Rizal and his compatriots in the reform movement appropriated it from its original owners i.e. the Spaniards?

B. Lapu-Lapu: The “First Filipino” to Resist Spanish Colonization?

There is a dual blunder here carried out which has been thought in schools for so long a time, a sheer affront to scholarly values and ideals indeed. That Lapu-Lapu was the first to imbibe and invoke “Filipino nationalism” and as such the first Filipino to resist to death Spanish colonization as quoted by Noel F. de Jesus from Encyclopedia Britannica in his article “Sweet and Sour Lapulapu” published in Philippine Panorama Sunday dated April 17, 2005 which regarded him as “the first Filipino to defeat a Western conqueror” is an age-old established inconsistency, therefore an upheld idiotic mistake perpetrated by no less than Filipino historiography.
De Jesus argued that Lapu-Lapu could still be Filipino “by some form of jus soli (i.e. right of the soil) because the soil from which he sprung is part of what is now the Filipino nation.” He continued further, “When a country comes into being, all who reside in the country automatically become citizens of the country, unless they choose not to be citizens.” But even so, still Lapu-Lapu could not be Filipino because the term originally belonged exclusively to a people (i.e. insulares and peninsulares Spaniards) who were foreigners by jus sanguinis (i.e. right of blood) and who are no longer residents today of the soil, which Lapu-Lapu sprung.

Meanwhile, there are two weighty arguments that make this claim completely false, unrealistic and irrational: 1) That Filipino is indeed foreign to both Lapu-Lapu and Magellan’s vocabularies that time since the term had just been coined and have been existent only during the later part of the 19th century. 2) That Filipino is the “unintentional pet project” of Spanish colonization; had it not been for the accidental coming of the Spaniards in the archipelago, precisely there would be no Felipinas, and there would be no Filipino at all. Logically, how could Lapu-Lapu be a Filipino when in fact it was this “conversion into Filipino” (i.e. Spanish colonization), which he abhorred that had spurred and steered his stance to fight these foreign invaders without the slightest trace of a second thought? Such instant response of Lapu-Lapu explains the fact that he had been always aware of the Europeans prowling the Southeast Asian territories and therefore had been expectant of their unsolicited presence to set foot in Mactan anytime to impose their hegemony, therefore that well-prepared resistance to rout and defeat these intruders at once.

Again: it is maintained here that it had never been a Spanish intention that the natives be called “Filipinos” once they put themselves under the Cross. Instead, these natives, converted into Catholicism though, had to remain indios and serve the colonial whims and caprices of Spaniards all their lives had it not been for the outbreak of the people’s revolution initiated by Andres Bonifacio. It is still a contentious issue whether Bonifacio did urge the masses to wage the Revolution in defense of that nationality. Of course, it had been existent as an exclusive property of the Spaniards born and residing here in the Philippines that time, and that it had been a scholarly feat of Rizal that he was able to influence the people to rally behind and defend that nationality as if it was their original and indigenous possession.

C. Bangsamoro a Filipino?

Let us look how both are defined and differentiated by historians. For instance, B. R. Rodil, a renowned local historian, tells that Filipinos are those natives predominantly from the northern part of the archipelago who succumbed to Catholic proselytization. “They were colonized by the Spaniards.” (Kalinaw Mindanaw Newsletter, vol. 1 no. 2 January 1998). Therefore, Filipinos are the colonized segment of the population owing to their contact and acquiescence to Spanish colonization.

Meanwhile, the Moros are the Islamized people inhabiting predominantly the southern part of the archipelago who, by virtue of their resolute resistance against foreign invaders particularly Spaniards, were able to shield themselves from European colonizers and thereby maintained their independence. In the same paper, Rodil also writes, “These were the proud Moros of the two sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu…” On the other hand, in p. 69 of the book “One Country, One People: Civics and Culture 2 published by VIBAL Publishing House, Inc., 1988, it has incongruently written: “The Muslim Filipinos were never conquered by foreigners. That is why they are called the unconquered Filipino Fighters.”
This further complicates the subject because in the earlier part, we defined Filipinos as those people of the archipelago whose forebears were conquered and colonized by Spaniards, therefore they become as such, while Moros are those who resisted the colonial onslaught and therefore never conquered. In the words of Salah Jubair, “While Filipino is the child of colonization, Bangsamoro is the brainchild of anti-colonialism.”

As such, how could names and appellations with paradoxical and contradictory essence be fused together and assume an analogous and unitary meaning? As to its core essence, Moro stands for anti-colonization while Filipino epitomizes colonial subservience. How could Moro become Filipino then?

Now therefore, A Moro can never be Filipino for that matter as the former is the exact opposite of the latter. As such, Moros can never be “Muslim Filipinos.” To say that Moros as “the unconquered segment of the population” and then equate it with or put it together beside Filipino, which is referring to “the conquered other segment of the population” turns the whole compound of these words into utter inconsistency and sheer clutter of contradictory phrase."

Bangsamoro or the Muslims in the south are no Filipinos. I don't know how do you reconcile your acceptance of being a Filipino when in fact Filipino, an unindigenous nationality in today's Philippines, is full of historical inconsistencies.

abet cariño said...

The Crux of the Moro problem
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo


Every time armed hostilities flare up in Mindanao, government assures the public that it is in control, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claims it can wipe out the troublemakers in due time, and a plethora of unsolicited solutions or proposals by self-anointed Mindanao experts and watchers are offered.


It would appear at first blush that the hawks or militarists have the upper hand what with de facto President, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’ s, (GMA) initial pugilistic stance after the series of military setbacks in Basilan and Sulu that embarrassed not just the military generals but also their Commander-in- Chief. This confrontational approach had the potential to develop into an all-out shooting war against the MILF in Basilan and then the MNLF in Sulu. But perhaps cooler, or rather more pragmatic, heads anticipating the financial, political and even diplomatic costs of such an outcome have prevailed.

So the seeming pull back, at least in pronouncements, to the track of maintaining the formal ceasefire with the MILF and the more uneasy one with the MNLF, pursuing so-called rehabilitation and development projects in Muslim Mindanao (many of which are funded by the US) and resuming within the month peace talks with the MILF, currently bogged down on the most contentious item, that of ancestral domain. As to the “necessary” AFP/PNP actions in pursuit of the ASG, GMA called for restraint in seeing to it that MILF and MNLF are not provoked into another firefight that could widen the scope of and further intensify armed hostilities.


Mrs. Arroyo also talked about giving back ancestral lands to the Moro people in an attempt to defuse the situation by “showing sincerity”. But everyone, no less the MILF and MNLF, knows that her words are worthless as a measure of sincerity. On the contrary, a concrete proposal for “pilot project” betrays tokenism and beams a clear signal and assurance to vested interests – foreign and local – that they have nothing to fear.

There is a crying need for a historical flashback on how the ancestral lands of the Bangsamoro were forcibly taken from them. This took place with the foisting of first, US colonial rule that presided over their dispossession, followed by the governments of the Commonwealth and the Republic that carried out the same injustice together with the marginalization of the Moros in their own homeland, with the waves of relocation and settlement of non-Moro communities. Thus with eighty percent of the Moros being landless tenants, it is no wonder that their areas are among the most economically depressed in the country today.


In a book entitled, "Bangsamoro, a Nation under Endless Tyranny" (1984, updated 1999), Salah Jubair, a member of the MILF central committee, refers to these laws as "legalized land grabbing."

According to Jubair, after the signing of the Bates-Kiram Treaty on August 20, 1899, the US colonial government applied the Land Registration Act (Act 496) in Mindanao. It required the registration in writing of all lands occupied by any person, group or corporation. That mother act gave way to a host of "land grabbing laws". Foremost of which were the following:

1. Public Act 718 (April 4, 1903), declaring as null and void all the lands granted by Moro sultans and datus or non-Christian chiefs without state authority. This law effectively dispossessed the Moros of their ancestral landholdings.

2. Public Act 926 (Oct. 7, 1903) declaring all lands registered under Act 496 as public lands, making them available for homestead, sale or lease by individuals or corporations.

3. Mining Act of 1905, declaring all public lands free and open for exploration, occupation and purchase even by US citizens.

4. Cadastral Act of 1907, which facilitated land acquisition by "educated natives", money bureaucrats and American speculators. "

Under the Commonwealth, more inequitable laws were passed:


1. Act 4197 (Feb. 12, 1935), which declared land settlement as "the only lasting solution" to the problem of Mindanao and Sulu. It "opened the floodgates to the massive influx of settlers into Mindanao," who took over the choicest parcels of land, especially along the highways, and began cultivation even before the areas were subdivided.

2. Act 141 (Nov. 7, 1936) which declared all Moro ancestral landholdings as public lands. Each Moro was allowed to apply for no more than four hectares whereas a Christian could own 24 hectares and a corporation, 1024 hectares. That led to foreign firms hogging thousands of hectares as pineapple, banana and other crop plantations.

3. Act 441 (June 1939), creating the National Land Settlement Administration; it gave priority for land settlement to those who had completed military training (in preparation for the Japanese invasion).


After World War II, settlements in Mindanao were resumed under the Rice and Corn Production Administration and later the Land Settlement and Development Corp, which resettled 1,500 families. Then, under RA 1160 or the NARRA program, 20,500 families of former members of the Hukbalahaps were resettled from 1954 to 1963.

In September 1971 the Department of Agrarian Reform, formed under RA 6389, took over the settlement projects. By 1983 the DAR resettled 22,639 families in 23 projects in Mindanao. Sadly, says Jubair, under the 1987 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) the Moros continued to be dispossessed of their remaining landholdings.

Years of conflict despite two “final” peace accords with the MNLF and ceasefire agreements with MILF have forced the government to publicly acknowledge the roots of the Moro problem but like previous regimes, GMA’s lacks the political will to solve it by recognizing the right to self-determination, especially in the light of decades-old national oppression and discrimination.

It is clear why the Philippine government is not about to give up Mindanao or even only the acknowledged Moro ancestral domains to the Moro people. All talk about national sovereignty and the indivisibility of Philippine territory is just a convenient cover for the real reasons: ownership of land by big non-Moro landowners, including multinationals such as Dole and Del Monte, and access to the still untapped natural resources in Mindanao, including gold, copper and natural gas.

Further, the US "war on terror" has brought to fore the importance of Mindanao as a strategic basing area for the US military forces, being at the center of Southeast Asia while having equal access to both the Middle East and Northeast Asia.

The GMA regime, like its predecessors, will do all it can to deprive the Moro people of their ancestral domain and genuine autonomy, even as GMA pays lip service to these. After all, from where she sits, the de facto President claims she is as strong as she wants to be.

Published in Business World 17 – 18 August 2007
Streetwise*

DJB Rizalist said...

abet,
Carol Pagaduan Araullo is no scholar. She is an ideologue who supports the CPP-NPA-NDF's version of history and politics. Much of what she writes is underwhelming and more stridently to be found in the writings of Joma and the webpages of the CPP, which she then tones down for dissemination in local media. She's never made sense to me.

But indeed, who can deny the existence of injustice and oppression that litters the highways and by-ways of history?

yet when you read ideologically motivated writers like Carol and Mr. Jubair, one finds the mythology of their particular people or movement grandly on display as the story of victims who were nothing less than noble themselves.

What of the cruelties and barbarities of the Moro Sultanates themselves?

this was the point I was making. All Filipinos (and you may quarrel with the term all day long) have suffered in history, more or less in equal measure.

I ask again: what is so special about the sorrows of the Moros??

What if anything requires that they be treated any differently than other Filipinos.

By the way, the Moros participated in the formation of the Philippine Commonwealth, with many datus and sultans becoming governors and senators of the realm.

I cannot and do not accept such Moro exceptionalism as is displayed by the MILF.

By the way, by what right or writ do they now claim to represent the "Bangsamoro" people?

sabahthephilippineborneo said...

Malaysia should stop it's holier than thou attitude with its participation in the so called peace process. In behalf of the Sulu Sultanate, The Philippines has a dormant claim on North Borneo(Sabah). The Arroyo administration is so afraid to the malaysians, every time a philippine official was asked regarding our claim, they don't want to comment on the issue. Are we bunch of cowards? I don't think malaysia has big investmensts here in the country.

We have to do something, break diplomatic relations with malaysia!

danilo ignacio said...

Dean, what is the difference between the history of a nationalist or an ideologue from the history of a scholar? Isn't it that an ideologue also takes history from the scholarly works written by a true historian? Otherwise, his history loses its authority and veracity; and , essentially loses confidence over his ideology. What is the difference of Rizal's history with that of Constantino? They may differ in the way they respectfully write but they are all nationalists. Was rizal not an ideologue? You are fond of the "cruelties" and "barbarities" of Moro Sultans in the past, is that what makes the Moro people's legitimate right to self-determination today loses its legitimacy? Were all Moro sultans that cruel and barbarous as you think of? Of course, there were some greedy datus who were cajoled and exploited by Spaniards and Americans and used them to exploit their own people. In fact, America in particular also used divide and rule tactics among these datus so it can perpetrate its imperialist interests in Mindanao. Just like what the national government is doing rights now with the “magnanimous” instrumentality of those dirty traditional Moro politicians against the Moro people. Just like what America and Britain have been doing in the Middle East. If you situate America in the rest of the world, you’ll see in its foreign policy that America is either a patron of puppet regimes or a sponsor of any insurgency movements toppling down a government that is not in good terms with US policy. In the past, Saddam Hussein was a vassal a puppet of Father Bush, now since he no longer buy the tutelage of Dubya, Iraq must be attacked and Saddam must be hang. This is democracy today: US modern-day imperialism in the crafty guise of global campaign against terrorism and world peace.

Rest assured, we do not deny that Filipinos also suffered from the hands of their own elite kind, that’s why their forefathers had to be resettled to Mindanao and be given with the Moro lands as greedy Filipino hacienderous took all their lands. Now, if the national government can stomach to exploit and oppress its own people, the more the possibility that it shall oppress others whom it considers as obstruction to what it calls “nation-building” and history has been a mute witness of these cruelties and deceit perpetrated by the Philippine state as enumerated by Ms. Araullo. Or, are those series of deceitful legislations not existent in history therefore just but ideological concoctions of Ms. Araullo? The fact that these ordinary Filipinos also suffered as you insist, then that gives them the ticket to organize themselves and rebel from the government which but only oppresses and exploit them ever since. And such ticket must not be denied to the Moro people.

abet cariño said...

djb,

Araullo and Jubair may not be scholars if we adopt your “intellectual high-handedness” but even gifted lawyers like you cannot deny these historical facts.

I’m just wondering why you always harbor bad notions about the Magindanaw sultanates? The attacks made against Visayas and Luzon villages were retaliation against the attacks (by Jove, let’s stop calling them piracy or banditry, they were in war!) launched by the Spaniards with Visayans and Pampangos at the forefront. You can’t expect a kiss when you punch another’s face!

Slavery is as old as man himself. If there was a point in the Magindanaw history that slavery was accepted as a fact of life, so was it in entire Philippine history even today! Human traffickers abound there in Manila and not here in Mindanao.

What’s special about the sorrows of the Moros? 120,000 people died through state-sponsored massacres, disappearances, “salvaging”, and other forms of mass carnage.
That’s just one “special” reason unless you are like Stalin who would just consider that as mere statistics.

If a very few datus became senators and public officials, it does not mean all the Moros accepted their acquiescence into the Filipino society.

DJB Rizalist said...

abet,
you must be on the wrong blog. I'm not a lawyer, I'm a physicist (you know, the guys that deal with the Laws of Nature, not the Laws of Men).

Retaliation for attacks launched by the Spaniards? Then why were they always carrying off hundreds of women and children?

Who appointed the MILF to speak for Moros anyway?

DJB Rizalist said...

Danilo,
ideologues, especially Filipino ideologues, usually use history to portray themselves as victims of that past history, in order to justify something dastardly they want to justify in the present, like violence, insurgency and terrorism. It's call historical victimology.

DJB Rizalist said...

Danilo, Abet,
I enjoy and learn the most from those who disagree with me, so for whatever it's worth, A Warm Welcome to Philippine American Commentary.

danilo ignacio said...

BTW let me butt-in Dean, is Man not a part of Nature? Are Laws of Men, though socially constructed, not specific ramifications of the Laws of Nature? Does Man acts outside of the Laws of Nature?

Was Rizal not the first proponent of “historical victimology?” Had he wrote the history of the natives’ sufferings in the north of the Islands from the hands of the Spaniards (still there were no Filipinos then that time) not that way, he would probably fail to catch and direct these natives’ nationalist sentiments.

Excuse me; the slavery again: Renato Constantino writes "Slavery-a misnomer" and quoted Victor S. Clark: "The domestic slaves of the Moros corresponding to the "criados" of the Christian provinces, are said usually to be quite contented with their lot, and would probably consider emancipation a hardship. Their duty are not heavy, and they live with families of their masters on a familiar footing, almost of social equality, rather as minor sons than as slaves, in more common sense of the word. There are certain conditions of society where slavery exists, so to speak, in its natural environment, and as an institution strikes no social discords. Probably in those early Roman days when word "familia" came to have double signification of family and body of slave dependents, or among the early Germans, when men carelessly gambled away their freedom in a game of chance, little thought of social degradation was associated with this status. It was only when the institution had outlived this period and survived into a period of more complex industrial development that it became an instrument of exploitation, all social sympathies between the free and servile classes were estranged, and the system was universally recognized to violate our sentiment of natural right and justice. OUR IDEAS OF SLAVERY ARE DERIVED FROM THIS PERIOD OF MORAL REVOLT AGAINST IT AND DO NOT APPLY VERY APTLY TO THE KIND OF SLAVERY THAT EXIST AMONG THE MOROS....THEY DO NOT REGARD SLAVES AS WEALTH PRODUCERS SO MUCH AS INSIGNIA OF HONOR." (emphases are mine) Vol. 1 The Philippines: A Past Revisited, p.35.

Dean, in whatever intention within you, it's my pleasure to be accorded with such a warm welcome. Though my posts here, perhaps like abet, seem to be adversarial all the time to your views, rest assured Dean that these are manifested in the context of dialogue. “adversarial discussions” are but good provided they aim ultimately towards nothing but the truth of the matter. As such, I believe, and I assume you do too, that during these times of conflict, dialogue -not debate- is the most civilized and humane way of dealing with differences and in resolving crisis. That is the only way we can maintain our humanity which has been dehumanized so much by an unimportant war in our midst. I am a Moro, I am a social worker by profession and hopefully a peace partner despite the fact of being a victim of unpeace brought here in Central Mindanao and the fact that my father, a farmer a civilian, was killed in 1974 during the height of Martial Law here in Cotabato province. Tragically, such sad family experiences perhaps make me to take side, our side. We do not wish you should experience the same so you would feel what we exactly feel here. As I told, if there is anyone who is in the right position to call for peace, it is the Moro people who have been a victim of unpeace since time immemorial.