Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Twilight of Spain

What must begin must end. In the closing years of the Spanish presence in Mindanao and Sulu, there were radical changes in the state of affairs in Mindanao and Sulu. In 1861, the Spaniards garrisoned Cotabato, which became the capital of Mindanao in 1871. But after a fire and earthquake hit Cotabato the following year, the capital was returned to Zamboanga. This time Sultan Muhammad Makakua, the incumbent sultan, was on the throne with the blessing of the Spanish Crown, but he had lost much of his territory. In Sulu, although Sultan Jamalul Kiram 11 was ruling with many of the previous powers intact, the chiefs at the second level were beginning to assert themselves in the affairs of the realm. At times, the sultan had a hard time promulgating major decisions without the concurrence of his chiefs.
At the decline of the Maguindanao sultanate, various minor sultanates sprang up in the Iranun areas, as well as along the Pulangi. The Iranuns of Malabang, Balabagan, and nearby areas now looked up to the Sultan of Ganassi in the Lanao region as their new master. In the Pulangi, many of these sub-sultanates pledged loyalty to the Sultan of Buayan. Sultan Marajanuddin, who was in turn succeeded in 1865 by his brother, Sultan Bayao of Kudarangan. In 1875, Datu Utto or Sultan Anwaruddin Utto, son of Sultan Marajanuddin, took over as Sultan of Buayan. Datu Utto was married to Rajah Putri, daughter of Sultan Qudaratullah Muhammad Jamalul Azam or simply Sultan Untong. So married, Datu Utto also maneuvered to be declared jointly as Sultan of Maguindanao. Openly, he was supporting the bid of his brother-in-law, Datu Mamaku, brother of Rajah Putri. to become the new Sultan of Maguindanao. But the Spaniards opposed his inclination vehemently. They saw in Datu Utto the making of a "second Qudarat." Datu Utto was able to unite the minor sultanates along the Pulangi, including those of Talayan. Buluan and Kabuntalan. Although he suffered many reversals from the hands of the Spaniards, he remained unconquered up to the coming of the Americans.
In 1888, Gov. Gen. Valeriano Weyler succeeded Gov.Gen. Emilio Terrero. Instead of pursuing the military campaign against Datu Utto, the new Governor trained his attention on the Iranuns and Maranaos. in January 1889, Spanish troops landed in Parang and Malabang. In April 1891, Spanish troops reoccupied Parang. Baras and Malabang and, after fierce clashes especially in the latter. decided in August to resume the campaign against the Maranaos. Thrown into action in this two-pronged attack were 1 , 242 officers and men. Fierce encounters followed. especially in the cotta commanded by Amai Pakpak. In September, the campaign was terminated without conquering the lake Moros.
In March 1894, even after Weyler had left for Manila, the 112 Spaniards pursued the campaign without letup. Pantar, near Marahui, (Marawi), was occupied. The datus of Taraca, Ramain, Maciu and Rumayan felt threatened and, consequently, they cooperated in fortifying their positions around the Agus river. Ambushes of Spanish soldiers and native allies became frequent and, at one time, 65 Spanish soldiers were killed, including one captain. The Spaniards retaliated by killing 35 Maranaos, including five datus. On June 24, about 500 Maranaos attacked 200 Spaniards, losing, however, 200 of their own men.
On March 10, 1895, this time under Gov. Gen. Ramon Blanco, the Spaniards decided to bring the war back to Marahui and, again, they encountered the same Amai Pakpak. In one of the cottas, 175 Moros perished including Amai Pakpak, his son, and 23 datus. The Spaniards lost eighteen soldiers, including two officers, and the wounded reached 197 soldiers, including 21 officers. In this bit of action, about 3,000 Spanish troops and native allies were involved.
In Sulu, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II tried to honor the peace agreement with the Spaniards. This contributed largely to the lack of widespread fighting in his realm, although he kept on procuring arms from Borneo. However, in 1895, the celebrated brothers, Datu Kalbi and Julkarnain, who figured prominently during the American regime, led about a thousand Moros in the attack of Jolo. After some bitter fighting the attack was contained.
This was the state of affairs during the last years of the Spanish presence in Mindanao and Sulu. If Spain was unsuccessful in completely putting down the Moros, it was not the result of faulty, planning or the lack of genuine interest. On the contrary, her entire firepower,. resources and manpower were all utilized to subjugate Mindanao and Sulu- and the Moros were still on their feet, not on their knees. As a fitting tribute to their gallantry and determination to resist even against formidable odds, history has appropriately referred to the Moros as the "unconquered."
Spain came to the Philippines not much for the Cross. In most instances, as the facts of her actuations were gradually exposed, religion was merely used to justify what otherwise was a satanic lust for worldly gain and glory. If she had firmly planted the Cross in the Philippines, she was no less successful in sowing the seed of hatred and animosity between the Moros and the Indios. Even if the 39 christianized natives absorbed the greater part of the misfortune that befell the entire inhabitants of Luzon and the Visayas, this was the consequence of collaboration, even if they did this against their wishes. The long list of Spanish invasions in Mindanao and Sulu showed the participations of thousands of these natives, and their racial brothers - the Moros - found it almost impossible to discriminate the proselytized subjects from the colonial masters. Both were one in creating havoc in Mindanao and Sulu.

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