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The Philippine Bangsamoro Conflict

The Philippine Bangsamoro Conflict

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Published by mindanaopeace
This paper discusses the view that the armed conflict between the Philippine Government and the Bangsamoro people is rooted in the assertion of the government of its sovereignty and the assertion of the Bangsamoro to exercise their right to self-determination, and argues that finding solutions that will take into consideration the two positions will be the viable and sustainable way to achieve peace in the Bangsamoro homeland.
This paper discusses the view that the armed conflict between the Philippine Government and the Bangsamoro people is rooted in the assertion of the government of its sovereignty and the assertion of the Bangsamoro to exercise their right to self-determination, and argues that finding solutions that will take into consideration the two positions will be the viable and sustainable way to achieve peace in the Bangsamoro homeland.

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Published by: mindanaopeace on Nov 21, 2010
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 Abhoud Syed M. Lingga
 Assertions of Sovereignty and Self-Determination:
The Philippine-BangsamoroConflict
Introduction
Tis paper discusses the view that the armed conict between the PhilippineGovernment and the Bangsamoro people is rooted in the assertion o the govern-ment o its sovereignty and the assertion o the Bangsamoro to exercise their rightto sel-determination, and argues that nding solutions that will take into consider-ation the two positions will be the viable and sustainable way to achieve peace in theBangsamoro homeland.
Nature o the Confict 
Te conict in Mindanao between the Philippine Government and theBangsamoro people is seen rom dierent perspectives. o the government, it isthe problem o integrating the national cultural communities into the body politic(Republic Act 1888), while to the Bangsamoro, the problem is the reusal o the centralgovernment to recognize and allow the exercise o their right to sel-determination. Tere are also some sectors o Philippine society who view the problem as Muslim-Christian conict. 
Problem o integration
Te situation o the Bangsamoro people as described by government isbackward (House o Representatives 1954:85), “poor and lacking education andtraining.” (Abueva 1977) Summarizing his ndings on the perceived problems o thecultural minorities, Abueva (1977) wrote: “From available written sources and romthe responses o the delegates who were polled or this paper, one is struck by thesense o relative deprivation, neglect, exploitation, misunderstanding, discrimination,and thereore o a degree o elimination, elt by inormed members o the culturalminorities.”Abhoud Syed M. Lingga is the Executive Director o the Institute o BangsamoroStudies in Cotabatao City.
 
6
Government policymakers (House o Representatives 1954) believe that thisdeprivation triggers the violence in Mindanao. Te relationship o deprivation to violence is explained by Magdalena (1983-1984:55) as ollows:
“… communities which have higher deprivation and higher displacement tendto experience more violence than those which are low on these. ogether, the two variables are much more highly related to the occurrence o violence than are theseparate eects o either one.”
In response to this deplorable situation, the central government adoptedthe policy o integration. Te objective o government’s national integration policy towards the Bangsamoro, who were earlier categorized as Non-Christian Filipinos andlater re-categorized as National Cultural Minorities, is to render real, complete andpermanent their integration into the Philippine body politic. Teir integration has tobe accomplished “by all adequate means and in systematic, rapid and complete manner”and includes their “moral, material, economic, social and political advancement.(Sec.1, RA 1888)  Te integration policy was reramed ater President Ferdinand Marcos’ martiallaw. Te new policy emphasized the preservation and development o the culture,traditions, institutions and wellbeing o Muslim Filipinos, in conormity with thecountry’s laws and in consonance with national unity and development. (ExecutiveOrder 122-A as amended by EO 295) Lately, with the passage o the law creatingthe National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, state policy was rephrased with theaim “to ensure the rights and well-being o Muslim Filipinos with due regard totheir belies, customs, traditions and institutions, as well as to urther ensure theircontribution to national goals and aspirations and to make them active participants innation-building.” (RA 9997)
Sel-determination
Te Bangsamoro see the problem rom a dierent perspective. Tey want toexercise their right to sel-determination, but the central government does not allow them. Tey tried to use peaceul and democratic means, to no avail. When they resortedto armed struggle to deend their communities rom military incursions, the toll onhuman lie and property has been heavy on both the Bangsamoro and the government.Realizing that the costs o being part o the Philippines ar outweigh thebenets derived, the Bangsamoro attempted several times to separate rom therepublic. During the Fourth Congress, Representative Ombra Amilbangsa ledHouse Bill No. 5682 that sought the granting and recognition o the independenceo Sulu. When the bill was sent to the archives without action, then-provincialgovernor o Cotabato Datu Udtog Matalam made a dramatic move, issuing the
 
Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) maniesto calling or the independenceo Mindanao and Sulu to be known and reerred to as the Republic o Mindanaoand Sulu. In 1974, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) issued a mani-esto proclaiming that “the Bangsamoro people…are disbanding all their political,economic and other bonds with the oppressive government o the Philippines”, andappealing to the international community to accept the “Bangsamoro Republik asone o the members o the amily o independent and sovereign nations in the world”.(MNLF Maniesto 1974) Salah Jubair (2007:11), in dening the problem as seen by the MoroIslamic Liberation Front (MILF), writes: “Essentially, the problem, to the MILF,is about giving the Moros their (right to sel-determination) RSD as enunciatedin international law, which will in the end determine which o the various shadeso sel-governance they reely choose: associative, ederative or any other orm o sel-determination, although the most natural meaning or expression o RSD isindependence.”Even Bangsamoro academics see the problem as that o sel-determination.In her suggestions to improve the relations between the Moros and Christians, Pro.Carmen Abubakar (1987:134) o the University o the Philippines made it clearthat “(v)ital to this eort is understanding the Moros’ claim to sel-determinationand their demand or sel-rule. Tis is a demand that has moral, legal and historicaloundations and cannot be withheld or denied on the basis o colonial prerogatives.” Te Bangsamoro assertion o sel-determination is anchored on historicalnarrative and consideration o the costs that they pay or being part o the Philippinerepublic. Te Bangsamoro consist o 13 Muslim ethno-linguistic groups living incontiguous areas in Mindanao. Prior to their incorporation to the Philippines, they exercised sovereign power over 2/3 o Mindanao. oday only around 1/3 o theiroriginal homeland remains in their possession ater several decades o being part o the Philippines.  Te Bangsamoro claim that they have signicant early experience in stateormation and governance compared to the Filipinos. In the middle o the 15thcentury, Sultan Shari ul-Hashim established the Sulu Sultanate, while in theearly part o the 16th century, Shari Muhammad Kabungsuwan established theMagindanaw Sultanate. Tese were ollowed by the establishment o the Sultanateo Buayan and the
Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao
(Conederation o the Four Lake-based Emirates). Tese states were already engaged in trade and diplomatic relations with other countries, including China, beore the creation o the new political entity called the Republic o the Philippines. Administrative and political systems based onthe realities o the time existed in those states. In act, it was through the existence o 

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