Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A credible Spanish author, writing in the 16th century, once said: "To the district of the Philippines and their confines those of Mindanao are adjacent.(Ley Recapitulada, lib. 6)
A French author, D' Avitay, wrote explicitly that Mindanao is not a Philippine island. (Histoire de L'asie, 16th century)
A Jesuit Francisco Combes, S.J., in his Historia de las Islas mindanao,Solo y Sus Adjacentes (Madrid 1657), wrote:
"The second nation in estimation is Mindanao which includes the Kingdom of Buhayen (sic): For in the older times they were all one nation, and today, although various petty rules govern them, they are one in customs and language. They are a nation of some valor with their policy of being subject to kings they have acquired esteem among other nations, whom they have united under once political government for achievements that are too great for their own courage."
What in anutshell is the Moro Problem?
Dr. Najeeb Saleeby in a book published in 1905, the Studies in Moro History, Law and Religion, defined for us this problem, thus:
"By Moro Problem is meant that method or form of administration by which Moro and other non-Christians who are living among them can be governed to their best interest and welfare in the most peaceful way possible, and can at same time be provided with appropriate measure for their gradual achievement in culture and civilization, so that in the course of a reasonable time they can be admitted into the general government of the Philippine Islands as a member of a republican organization."
Writing in 1932, a Tausog of German extraction, Theodore Garang Schuck, said:
"The Moros are a law-abiding people provided, however, they feel that the government that rules them is their own. They do not regard the present government as their own. They look upon it as something that has been imposed upon them. They have a feeling of being conquered, and proud and resentful, they struggle for freedom. They have never felt themselves a part of the Philippine Islands or of the Philippine Government and until they are made to feel this resentment and resistance will continue."
In the book, Muslim Secession or Integration?, Prof. Alunan C. Glang, a Muslim contemporary writer on the problem earlier defined by Dr. Saleeby, points out that whatever ways and means the government may institute to win over the Muslim will not succeed unless the Muslim masses, the religious group and the traditional leaders lend their support. These groups had exercise on the Muslim thinking and social pattern.
"Like all other cultural societies," Atty. Michael O. Mastura points out, "the Muslim Filipinos have mechanism for compelling the behavior of its members. In one sense, the religious group is a form of social control which, if properly utilized as mechanism to arrest antipathy towards the government, can be a crucial factor in the take-off process."
Why the current Conflict?
The The conflict in Muslim Mindanao and Sulu should be understood not in terms either of elimination, economic or political solution or duality but in terms of synthesis. Thus, the movement towards Moro irredentism and the renaissance in Muslim society should be reconciled as the expression of the Muslim's unending search for national identity.
In the words of a noted Muslim scholar, Dr. Cesar Adib Majul, "national identity refers to those values in national community believed to be conducive to individual happiness and what is conceived to constitute order in society or social being. Thus, the elements of national identity might include expectations that transcend goals pertaining to mere security and modernization." Clearly, commitment to a national community is equivalent to identification with its values. It is determination of such values that may bring about a contest between different institutions or cultural groups in society.
One can easily see tha the ferment beneath the conflict in Muslim Mindanao and Sulu is rooted deeply in this search for national identity. Like the racial minority in William Harvard's The new Mind of South, the Muslim today moves between the extremes of a quest for identity in Islam and a sense of belonging to the national community. Clearly, the insurgents in Mindanao and Sulu can no longer reconcile the two extremes, as repeatedly indicated in their published documents. The rebels of Muslim Mindanao have already said in no uncertain terms what they want, "a crusade to assert our identity in the family of nations."
As quoted in Teodoro A. Agoncillo's History of the Filipino People, is Louis L. Snyder definition of nationalism as condition of mind, feeling or sentiment of group of people in well-defined geographical area, speaking of common language, possessing of literature in which the aspiration of the nation have been expressed, being attached to common tradition and, in some cases, having common religion."
Finally, the Muslims today are facing what is called Psychological Death. Dr. Jerome D. Franck, professor of psychiatry at John Hopskin, has written that psychologically the crucial part of "reality world" of any group is its belief about the meaning of existence. Human beings, he says, shield themselves from the unendurable realization that individual life is fleeting and insignificant ty embracing an ideology or religion which links their lives to some larger and more enduring purpose. This ideology is vital to their existence, it gives meanings to their lives. any threat to this ideology, and demand that it be surrendered, is intolerable. it would represent a kind of psychological death harder to contemplate than biological death.
The main thesis of Jubair's book is that in the Moro conflict in the South of the Philippines, the Moros (as Muslims are popularly called) have been and still threatened with psychological death. This is another reality which is the main cause of the present conflict. Series of events, both gloomy and dark, have conspired to convince the Moro mind that there is a government program designed "to kill him alive". (In Maguindanaon, this would be something like this: pagimatayan sa di papebpulugon). This is one form or manifestation of this psychological death process. These events are what the Moro interpret as part of an overall scheme intended to eliminate his Moro identity or, to put it correctly, his identity in Islam.
September 1997
ALUNAN C. GLANGFormer Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to the State of Kuwait

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