Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moro Actions and Responses

We have stated that the presence of the Americans in Mindanao and Sulu was a direct challenge to the independence and authority of the still "unconquered" Moros, numbering about 335,000 by modest estimate. They viewed the move toward integration the White Men's renewed attempt to subjugate and christianize them. This move. they could not tolerate or allow to happen, even if they had to go to war, as what their forebears had done for many centuries.  
The Moros took the threat seriously. As they were not trained to bow down in shame, it was now the American's turn to decide whether to back off or take the square dare they had hurled forward. However, for the purpose of this discussion, let us classify into two the forms of struggle of the Moros during the American regime, namely, the armed and the parliamentary. In this section, let us deal with the armed struggle first. But before doing so, let us note that these two forms of struggle appeared to lack coordination by a central leadership in the pursuit of common formal political objectives. The main reason for this deficiency, perhaps, is the superior handling of the problem by the American colonial administrators, who had fully grasped the intricacies of the southern problem, as well as the various errors of the Spaniards, and then succeeded in adopting an almost flawless policy as far as their imperialist agenda in Mindanao and Sulu were concerned.  
1. Armed Struggle - There were several factors which ignited the Moro-American War. First, the Moro's mental frame of struggle against foreign encroachment did not slacken at the disappearance of the Spaniards. The fighting itself merely had an impasse, thanks to the superb diplomacy of the Americans, which they employed while their hands were full in their war with the Filipino insurgents in the northern areas. For their part, especially of the sultans and datus, the Moros were studying the situation closely and were not in the rush to make hasty decisions. Second, the American total disregard of the policy of non-interference in favor of direct handling made the prospects of war a matter of time. The Moros were not used to be commanded by outsiders and could not accept any infringement of this tradition. Third, the two conflicting world realities - from the Moro side that the Americans were "infidels," " secularists" and "invaders," and from the American side, that the Moros were "savages," "fanatics" and "pirates" - hastened early conflicts. One considered the other as threat and, therefore, must be disposed off as soon as possible. And fourth, such activities of the American forces like land surveys, census, curtailment of slaves and disarmament resulted in an early face-to-face contact with the Moros, especially those who hated outsiders. In summation - and this is the bottom line - the Moros wanted to preserve their independence and sovereignty over their lands from foreign interference.  
As early as May 1899, despite the Kiram-Bates Treaty, trouble already erupted in Mindanao and Sulu. The main reason was that the next-level chiefs, after seeing that the sultans were giving in too much to the dictates of the Americans, started to assert themselves. Very soon, serious military confrontations flared up in various parts of the Moro country. These events led one American writer, J. Ralston Hayden, to comment that never during the entire continental expansion of the United States had armed encounters been so frequent and serious as that between the Moros and American troops.` The Moros' bold display of heroism, bravery and determination, even against formidable odds, spoke of their undying spirits to fight for their religion, people and lands. The living legacy to this was the invention of the 1911 .45 caliber pistol, which was specially designed to stop the juramentado dead on his track. Earlier, American soldiers used the.38 caliber revolver as sidearm and, although it was effective against the Cubans it was not sufficient against the Moro warriors who could still lunge at their adversaries with their krises and inflict casualties. The extent of the ferocity of combat and the distraught condition of the American occupation forces could be reflected in one of their most favourite expressions: "The only good Moro is a dead Moro." No less than 20,000 Moros were killed in actions from 1899 to 1916. From 1904 to the end of General Wood's term as Governor of the Moro Province in 1906, the Moros suffered 3.000 dead as against 70 Americans."  
There is no attempt here to document all the engagements in the Moro-American War. The record would fill hundreds of pages. Consider that in just less than three years of General Wood's rule, there were already more than a hundred confrontations that took place, some hard-fought. For this reason, the major confrontations would perhaps suffice for this narration.  
As early as April 1902, a large-scale engagement occurred in Bayang, Lanao. About 1,200 American troops were thrown into action against the 600 warriors of Sultan of Bayang and of nearby settlements. The Moros were encamped in their cottas (forts) with brass cannons emplacements. For the first time, the Americans had a taste of the horrors of the on-rushing juramentados who simply refused to fall after being hit repeatedly. The fighting protracted until May 3. Report of the fighting showed that the U.S. troops suffered ten killed and 41 wounded as against 300-400 Moros slain, including the sultans of Bayang and Pandapatan. In honor of a fallen young American lieutenant, Camp Vicar was erected near the scene of the fighting. Capt. John Pershing was later appointed the new commanding 'Officer of the camp. Upon assuming the post, Pershing, nicknamed "Black jack," immediately started to implement plans for the eventual recognition of the U.S. sovereignty over the lake Moros. The lake Moros interpreted this as no less than an act to subjugate them and to convert them into Christianity. They warned the Americans to leave immediately or face the dire consequences. A series of bitter engagements followed that lasted up to February 1908. So beleaguered were the Americans that in Dansalan (Marawi) they could not cross Keithley Road "without being shot at." At one time District Governor Allan Card, the first civilian Governor of Lanao, was wounded in an ambush in Maciu in February 1908. But because of American vast resources, superior weaponry and battle tactics, the final outcome of these engagements always favored the newcomers: 300 Moro casualties versus only about 30 Americans dead or wounded.  
Leading the Lanao resistance was the shrewd and brave Datu Ampuan Agaus who outwitted the Americans several times and. despite his many reversals, he was still up in arms until the middle of 1916. Out of the deaths, havoc and destructions in these bloody encounters, Pershing was not only promoted from Captain direct to General and thus bypassing 862 senior officers, but was also hailed as a "hero" and "military genius."  
In Cotabato, the most celebrated anti-American resistance was spearheaded by Datu Ali, Rajahmuda of Salunayan and later of Buayan, and his brother, Jambangan. Datu Ali was supposed to succeed Sultan Anwaruddin Utto as Chief of the Buayan sultanate, but for some reasons Datu Piang or Tuya Tan, his father-in-law, had become the most popular chieftain in Cotabato when the Americans arrived in December 1899. Mingka, the daughter of Datu Piang, was however married to Datu Ali, who was raising the flag of resistance against the cedula tax and anti-slavery campaign of the Americans. Datu Ali's bravery and determination became known far and wide. He did not only succeed to raise the flag of resistance in the entire Cotabato Valley but also attempted to persuade the Lanao Moros to join hands with him in fighting the Americans.  
In early March 1904, General Wood personally led the attack of Datu Ali's main cotta at Kudarangan which, according to account, was the largest ever constructed" and could garrison "four or five thousand men" and was defended by eighty-five pieces of artillery, including a 3 to 5 1/2 inches caliber." After a bitter fight, the fort was captured and Datu Ali and 260 followers retreated to Salunayan. In May 1904, it was Datu Ali's turn to even the scores with the Americans, who were not familiar with the terrain of the marshland and the terrible bites of mosquitoes there. In his diary, Wood recorded their encounter with mosquitoes:  
I don't think anywhere in the world have I ever seen mosquitoes as thick as they were at this place. The men were almost crazy. There were countless millions of mosquitoes so thick it was impossible to protect oneself against them, or sleep. Some wrapped their hands in blankets and others sat over the fire until the smoke so hurt their eyes and nostrils that they had to get away, and as soon as they left the fire the mosquitoes attacked them. I think two nights here would have destroyed the efficiency of the command and probably resulted in several cases of temporary madness. 
In a classic example of guerrilla tactic, Ali and his men succeeded in luring the American troops into the Liguasan Marsh where a well aid ambush led to the massacre of nineteen soldiers, including two officers, and the capture of several others. The captives were later released.  
Finally on October 22, 1905, Capt. Frank R. McCoy led an expedition of combined army and scouts of the 22nd Infantry and Philippine Scouts under cover of darkness and sneaked deep into his hideout near Malala River not far from Buluan to surprise Datu Ali and his men. Datu Ali and scores others perished in this attack. What made the mission easier was the "treachery" of Datu Inok or Amani Gallery, husband of Bagungan, who tipped off the Americans on Datu Ali's hideout. Earlier, Bagungan was abducted by Datu Ali, which enraged the husband and made him turn against his former companion in the resistance.  
Even before 1903, a series of confrontation raged in the Sulu archipelago. The most serious were those led by Panglima Hassan in alliance with many minor datus in October of that year. Panglima Hassan was of humble origin but he was gifted with intelligence and determination. He was so influential that he could easily muster 500 warriors within hours notice and many more in days. The Americans accused him of slavery and banditry, the normal crimes imputed to other anti-American campaigners elsewhere in Mindanao and Sulu. Eventually Panglima Hassan, already fed up with the American hostile ways, decided to confront the Americans anew. With about 400 followers, including women and children, he assaulted the American troops stationed in Jolo. The fighting lasted the whole day resulting in heavy casualties on both sides, especially on the attackers. By then reinforcements under the command of General Wood arrived in Sulu. Soon the Americans mounted counter-offensives. The main fort of Panglima Hassan near a lake was besieged from all directions and a gory hand-to-hand fight followed. After days of continuous fighting, the fort was overran, Hassan overwhelmed and captured. But after a masterly stroke of genius, Hassan escaped, leaving behind many casualties among his captors, including Maj. Hugh Scott, who was wounded.  
The struggle of Panglima Hassan was shortlived. On March 4, 1904, he was martyred at his hideout atop Bud Bagsak. But the Americans found in him a ferocious fighter who never hesitated to throw himself in battle, even against a superior enemy. After his martyrdom, his followers led by Datu Pala continued the resistance until November 1905 and declared a jihad to drive out the infidel Americans.  
Many more resistance fighters came forward. One was the famous Jikiri, known as the "Terror of the Sulu Sea." Branded by the Americans as a "bandit," he was, to the Moros, a kind of "RobinHood." He slashed the throats of the Americans and their local lackeys, got their properties and distributed them to the people and his men.  
Like Panglima Hassan, Jikiri had a lowly beginning. He once served the Sulu sultan as a betel-nut bearer. Early in his rebel life, he had a small band of followers of just seven, but in due time this grew in size. In 1907, his fame as a "pirate" began to cause much trouble to the Americans in Sulu, then under Governor Alexander Rogers, who soon raised the reward money to P 4,000 to get him "dead or alive." Jikiri was not only brave; he was elusive to his pursuers and to hit back at his pursuers with rage and impunity. He was particularly a terror to the pearling rights grabbers; in fact, they were the main reason for his resistance. No less than Sultan Jamalul Kiram 11, on his visit to Washington in September 1910, told Pres. William Taft that Jikiri's banditry was due to the violation of the traditional rights of the people over the pearl beds of Sulu."  
After two years of hit-and-run confrontations, the end of the road for Jikiri came on July 4, 1909. A combined American cavalry, infantry and artillery assaulted the cave at Patian Island, ten miles from Jolo where he and his men perished after a fierce hand-to-hand fight.  
In August 1913, the Moros of Talipao on the Jolo Island refused to pay the road tax imposed on them by the Americans. Led by Datu Sabtal, they fortified themselves around the slopes of Mount Talipao. Their refusal led to a series of engagements between the group of Datu Sabtal and the Philippine Scouts.  
In 1914, Datu Alamada or Amani Boliok of Pedatan, near Parang, defied the Americans. With a following of 3,000 men, women and children, and possibly even more, the slippery Moro chieftain fought many engagements with the Philippine Scouts and Constabulary troops. In his many skirmishes with Capt. Allen Fletcher, the commanding officer of the American outfit, Alamada was always on his feet and on the run. His feats were very colorful in the beginning, but Moro culture would not give credit to those who bowed down in shame by surrendering to the enemy. Datu Alamada surrendered to the Americans on May 19, 1914. As can be noted, serious armed confrontations with the Americans continued after 1914. Datu Ampuan was still fighting the Americans up to 1916. Military operations failed to break up his determined effort to fight the colonial rule.  
In 1923, armed confrontation exploded in Tugaya, Lanao when a group of Moros revolted against forced education imposed upon their children to attend American schools, which they suspected to be an instrument of conversion to Christianity. The resistance was cut short at the death of the leader and 54 of his followers in the series of armed engagements that followed.  
The same year, Datu Santiago and some Constabulary deserters who joined him created much unrest in the Parang region of Cotabato. Resorting to a hit-and-run fighting, Datu Santiago and his men were able to inflict considerable casualties on pursuing government troops, now already under Filipino leadership. Like any resistance leader, Datu Santiago could not understand why he had to pay the cedula tax for staying in his own ancestral place. He was also bitter about the forced education and the excesses of the Constabulary troops. Fighting in a very favorable terrain, he was able to hold on until 1925, when a fierce encounters took place resulting in the loss of several hundreds of his followers. Unable to sustain the resistance indefinitely, he finally surrendered to the government.  
Again, trouble erupted in Sulu in 1927. Datu Tahil, a veteran of the Bud Bagsak incident, where he lost his wife and child, refortified the hills of Patikul. After many encounters that started in January and claimed the lives of forty of his men and after a brief escape, he decided to make peace with the government even against the wishes of his clan. This angered even his own sister "who wished him death."  
In the meantime, the Philippine Commonwealth Government was established on November 15, 1935 with Manuel L. Quezon as the first President. Barely six months after, in June 1936, the most serious armed rebellion took place in Lanao. It was spearheaded by Hadji Abdulhamid Bongabong, a religious leader of Unayan, Lanao. The fighting lasted for many years and took place around the lake, where a chain of Moro cottas were erected in defiance. This is recorded in history as the great "cotta fight." The grievances were contained in a petition letter addressed to the President of the United States. Succinctly put, the issues raised were:
1. Moros had become second class citizens;  
2. The Moro Province be segregated once independence is given, to the Filipinos;  
3. Acquisition of lands in the Moro Province be reserved for the Moros; and  
4. Islam must not be curtailed in any manner.
The uprising lasted up to 1941, just a few months before the invasion of the Japanese Imperial Army.  
The listing of the names of Moro resistance leaders and their engagements with the occupation forces, first against the Americans and then against the Filipinos, cannot be made complete here. What we have is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. One fact of history is that even after the exit of Spain, hardly months or a year passed without one Moro leader or another taking the field to resist whoever was in power. But a great many passed into oblivion and their exploits have not been properly recorded, if they were not, in fact, systematically omitted or ignored. Even the greatest, like Panglima Hassan, Datu Ali, Datu Ampuan Agaus, and Jikiri, whose names are classics in Moro history, had been villainously blackened by the Americans and their puppets, because these Moro heroes had been regarded as the villains. They have ceased to exist now, yes! - as have their tormentors, who are gone - but the cause they had fought for is still very much within us; and certainly, others will pick up the flag of resistance exactly, where they had halted, as thousands upon thousands now are marching forward, following their footsteps, until final victory shall be achieved!  
2. Parliamentary Struggle - The U.S. colonial government and the succeeding Filipino neo-colonial power have utterly failed to stamp out Moro resistance. But they have succeeded in rendering Moro traditional power structure effete and almost obsolete. The main casualties have been the sultans and datus, whose authority has been squelched to the extent that they have become mere symbols of the past and mute relics of history. The sultan-people direct dealing has been almost severed and, to get rid of the evils of dual rule, meaning sultan and government ruling simultaneously, the Commonwealth Government directed all state-installed officials in 1936 to take over the roles so far exercised by the sultans and datus.  
The disintegration of the traditional socio-political order and the ever-tightening imposition of the secular-materialistic concept of life bequeathed by the Americans have created an extremely difficult situation for the Moros. Consequently, those who were won over to the American side, freely or under duress, were the ones who with their pens, slogans and orations adopted and pursued the parliamentary or unarmed way of struggle. They asked the United States Government to separate the Moro Province, either as colony or as independent state. Singly or in chorus, they unanimously refused to join the Filipinos in their demand for independence. It is true that they did not succeed; neither did they achieve anything of consequence in terms of the real liberation of the Moros - that, obviously, was already foredoomed from the start. But there is no gainsaying the fact that they did their best in their own way. Yet, on the other hand, by following the unarmed way of struggle, they were deeply entangled into the American cobweb and continued to become subservient to the whims and caprices of the new colonial masters.  
The agitation for a separate state did not die, even among those who considered it pragmatic to cooperate with the Americans. As a matter of fact, as early as August 10, 1910, on the occasion of the official visit of the U.S. Secretary of War, Jacobson M. Dickenson, to investigate the real condition of the Philippines vis-a-vis the grant of independence, they already made known their deep commitment to the separation of the Moro country from Luzon and the Visayas once independence is granted. A large meeting was held and many Moros and Filipinos attended. The first to speak were two Filipinos who said that the 70,000 Christians in the Moro Province, who were "civilized," "educated" and "property-owners" were ready and willing to govern the Moros then numbering 335,000. Then some of the Moro leaders followed. Datu Mandi spoke first and a portion of his speech reads:
As I look about, I see far more Moros than Filipinos contingent, and if that is so, that is the reason it is called the Moro Province .... If the American government does not want the Moro Province any more they should give it back to us. It is a Moro Province. It belongs to us. 
Next to speak was Datu Sacaluran:
I am an old man now. I do not want any more trouble. But if it should come to that, that we shall be given over to the Filipinos, I would Still fight.  
The third to come forward was Hadji Abdullah Nunyo who declared:
We area different race; we are Mohammedans. And if we should be given over to the Filipinos, how much more would they treat us badly, when they treated even the Spanish badly who were their own mothers and fathers for generations. How did they treat them? Think about it! Think twice We prefer to be in the hands of the Americans, who are father and mother to us now, than to be turned over to another people.  
Between the Americans and the Filipinos, the Moros, after decades of bitter-sweet interactions, learned to accept the former and retained hatred for the latter. This was the legacy of the Spanish colonialism in the Philippines. But battling for political favors and attention from the Americans, the Moros were the underdog in the unfavorable terrain of an alien Western system. The non-acceptability of a separate Moroland was a foregone conclusion. That concept of separation never for a moment became a part of the official policy of the United States Government.  
In the meantime, the policy of putting Filipinos into offices or "filipinization" that started very early in Luzon and the Visayas in 1901 by Pres. William McKinley had been extended to the Moro country. This was pushed forward rapidly when Francis Burton Harrison became Governor General of the Philippines in 1913 - 1921.  
On September 1, 1914, the newly organized Department of Mindanao and Sulu, including seven provinces as part of its territorial jurisdiction, was inaugurated in Zamboanga. Of these provinces, four had Filipinos appointed as governors and only three, Lanao, Sulu and Cotabato. had Americans retained as governors. The four provinces already under Filipino governors were Zamboanga, Davao, Agusan and Surigao. In this filipinization scheme, the role of the Moros was very negligible. At most it was a consolation. A Moro was appointed third member of the Provincial Board of Zamboanga, and later in 1915, a Moro was placed the third member of the Board of Cotabato. After the passage of the Jones Law in 1916, which provided formal commitment of independence to the Philippines, Gov. Gen. William Harrison appointed Hadji Butu of Sulu, Datu Piang of Cotabato and Datu Benito of Lanao to the Philippine Legislature.  
Meanwhile, World War 1 commenced in Europe in 1914. This global conflict had direct repercussions on the Moro country. Turkey entered the war in October 1914 on the side of the Central Powers, and in April 1917, the United States joined the Allies. The Moros still looked up to Turkey both as capital of the Islamic world and the Sultan of Turkey as the political head of the Muslimummah. This attitude created some apprehension among the American administration officials in Mindanao and Sulu. They feared a Moro backlash favoring Turkey., But as unexpected, even after the conclusion of the war in 1918, nothing untoward happened in Mindanao and Sulu that was related to this global conflict. The Moros remained generally unconcerned with the war.  
In 1920, the Department of Mindanao and Sulu was governed entirely by Filipinos. American governors in the predominantly Moro provinces like Sulu, Cotabato and Lanao were replaced by Filipinos. This led to the conclusion that filipinization actually meant christianization" of the civil service in Moro country.  
On June 9, 1921, a petition from the Moros of Sulu was forwarded to the United States Government. Along with an earnest desire to remain under American rule, they stated clearly:  
We are independent for 500 years. Even Spain failed to conquer us. If the U.S. quits the Philippines and the Filipinos attempt to govern us, we will fight. 
On February 1, 1924, another petition containing a declaration of rights and purposes was forwarded to the U.S. Congress from more than 500,000 Moros of Mindanao and Sulu. More than one hundred signed the petition for the Moros. Among the signatories worth mentioning, were Sultan Mangigin of Maguindanao, Hadji Panglima Nunyo, Datu Sacaluran, Maharaja Habing, Abdula Piang and Datu Benito. A portion runs thus:
... In the event that the United States grants independence to the Philippine Islands without provision for our retention under the American flag, it is our firm intention and resolve to declare ourselves an independent Constitutional sultanate to be known to the world as Moro Nation. It is the duty of the Congress of the United States to make provision at once for the security and protection promised to us when we surrendered our arms to the United States Army. This promise is just as sacred as any alleged promises you have made to the Christian Filipinos. 1 ou have left us defenseless, and is your duty to protect us or return to us the weapons you took from us and which we freely gave you, relying on your promises?  
A keen American analyst of Philippine affairs, the Honorable Clarence B. Miller, who had extensive tours of the islands, made a startling but categorical conclusion that the Moros would immediately resort to arms if compelled to live under the rule of the Filipinos. This observation was corroborated by the findings of the Wood-Forbes investigation at a meeting held in Lanao. One of the Moros present pointed to a building over which were flying side by side the American flag and the Filipino flag and said: "What is that strange [Filipino] flag flying beside ours? Take it down."  In Cotabato, Amai Binaning spoke for the Maguindanao Moros and said: "We Moros wish the protection of America. We wish to stay under the American flag." 
After the conclusion of the Wood-Forbes Investigation of the Philippine Islands, one of its findings was:
The Moros are a unit against independence and, are united for continuance of American control, and, in case of separation of the Philippines from the United States, desire their portion of the islands to be retained as American territory under American control. The Pagans and non-Christians, constituting about 10 per cent of the population of the islands, are for continued control. They want peace and security.  
What almost turned the tide of history in favor of the Moros were three important events in the year 1926.  
The first was the visit of Harvey Firestone Jr. in March to Mindanao looking for 1,000,000 acres of lands for rubber plantation. Firestone got a lift when no less than Gov. Gen. Leonard Wood appeared very supportive. This prospect, however, did not prosper for several reasons, one of which being the stiff opposition of the Filipino nationalists who wanted the Moro country to become an integral part of the Philippine Islands.  
The second event was the filing of four bills for the segregation or retention of Mindanao and Sulu either as an American colony or a federal state. On May 6, 1926, Cong. Robert L. Bacon of New York filed House Bill No. 12772 in the United States Congress which sought to retain Mindanao and Sulu as an American colony, even as the rest of the islands would be granted independence. Though mainly motivated by economic reasons, Bacon's rhetoric stunned his critics and heartened his supporters. In his privilege speech, he said:
Their so-called representation in the Philippine Legislature is a farce and a mockery. They are deliberately denied any share 'or participation in the government. They have no elective representatives.... They have no magistrates, no judges, no public prosecutor drawn from their own people. And the guardians of law and order in their region -constabulary - are practically drawn from the ranks of their hereditary enemies - the Filipinos. The Filipinos are their lawmakers, their governors, their judges, their persecutors and their policemen. To these conditions the Moros respond by giving nothing but hate and unwilling submission. 
He continued his rhetoric by saying:  
The Philippine Islands are divided into two very distinct areas - the Christian provinces... and the Mohammedan territory .... These two regions belong to different and opposed civilizations - the Christian world and Islam."  
Bacon was not alone. Apart from his supporters in the U.S. Congress, there was tremendous popular support and endorsement from the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu. During the deliberation of the bill, Datu Piang of Cotabato, one of the most popular pro-American leaders, felicitated the New York Congressman and cabled this message:
Allow me to congratulate you on a bill for the separation of Mindanao from the government in Manila. Long have we hoped and long have we prayed that the people of the U.S., after conquering us would not turn us over to those who do not understand us. We have written the President, asking him for the support of your bill. I am not talking for myself, because I am an old man. I am talking for my people and for the Moros of these vast islands." 
In the interlude, the Filipino politicians, who were sharply divided at the moment, decided to come to terms to form the Supreme National Council. The Council was headed by Manuel Quezon and its avowed objective was to present a more unified front against the Bacon Bill. A powerful lobby was organized to counter the efforts of Bacon and his colleagues in the U.S. Congress. The Council bitterly denounced the bill and criticized the movers.  
Three other bills were introduced in the United States Congress, namely, the Roger, Copper and Kies bills. The first was similar to the Bacon Bill while the Copper Bill provided for the retention of the islands of Mindanao and Sulu for eventual federation with the United States. The third bill was obscure but was believed similar to the rest.  
The third momentous circumstance was when Pres. john Calvin Coolidge, unable to ascertain the real situation in the Philippine Islands in relation to the grant of independence, sent Col. Carmi Thompson to investigate. The situation of the Moros was one of the main concerns. The mission reported that the Philippines lacked social homogeneity and solidarity. It also took note of the approval of the Bacon Bill by the Moros.  
.This prevailing sentiment was reiterated to Gov. Gen. Dwight F. Davis two years after in one of his visits to the Island in 1929One prominent Moro leader, Gumbay Piang, son of Datu Piang, spoke of this universal desire of the Moros to dissociate themselves from the independence movement of the Filipinos. He remarked that the Filipinos, after having been influenced by Spain for many centuries, had an innate motive to eradicate Moro identity and traditions in addition to having territorial ambitions in Mindanao.  
In 1927, an American observer in the New York Post wrote the following:
The outstanding mistake of the U.S. in its Philippine dealings has been their assumption that the native inhabitants constitute a homogeneous Filipino people; instead there are numerous peoples, the widely scattered population of the archipelago ... speaking many dialects and radically if different character, in development and government needs. This is particularly true of the Mohammedan people inhabiting the great southern islands of the Philippines, who are altogether distinct in religion, physical type and mental outlook.

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