(This article was prepared a year before the resumption of the informal GRP-MNLF talks in 2005. this actually was a paper submitted to the MNLF to reassess their position and action. Unfortunately, it was considered as an unsolicited advice)

The more than three centuries of struggle of national liberation of the Bangsamoro homeland had its own turns and twists, success and failures in each era. The Colonial and postcolonial rule imposed itself on the homeland in one and a million ways from military means through political overtures that made the struggle an eternity. But before the polemics it would be wise enough to look at the lessons that we learned from our more than three centuries of war of National liberation. Our forebears during the Spanish era taught us earlier what Mao Ziadong had been teaching our Socialist comrades,” Retreat when you are attacked, attack when the enemy withdraws.” Our ancestors launched lightning raids on Spanish outposts and that we were very good in guerilla warfare as well as in our diplomatic efforts. It also taught us the value of unity that despite the fact that some of our territories are islands adjacent to the homeland, we were still able to maintain our mobility in fighting the superior armada of the Spanish fleet.It showed us that our source of strength and power is our identity as Bangsamoro (though its definition was still in the process) But it also taught us one important lesson, our foes are not forever invincible , for even in the face of British and Dutch forces, they had to reposition their forces to enable to still maintain a grip on their colonies, had peace not been signed, we would’ve been part of the British commonwealth, undaunted by America’s buccaneering policies. The American invasion and its war upon our Philippine compatriots who fought the Spaniards and the incoming Americans taught us that courage is not enough to pull down the Military machine that pounced upon us, and that much wit is needed as well as firepower if we were to attempt to confront a much superiorly armed enemy, we also must remember that as we also learn about our enemy, it also learns from its battles as it confronts us even inventing new technology in attempting to defeat us, the M1911a1 is still a reminder that the Moro is indeed a formidable foe that had to be confronted with. It showed us that there are many

ways of winning a war, using people as settlers or pawns instead of using guns and later creating an atmosphere that would eventually lead to conflict. It was an era where ignorance and lack of education made us pay dearly by losing a large portion of our homeland into the hand of settlers and eventually resulting to massive displacement out our traditional lands. When we protested that we be excluded from the Philippines in the Dansalan declaration we learned that the need for a powerful diplomatic arm and propaganda machine was indeed vital to the success of our movement and that it can find the recognition that we need. It was also in this era we have seen that even giants have their own weak points too for as the Americans were too busy in a lot of things their armada was decimated in a lightning raid by daredevils and that this showed that we should never lose a moment or we would find ourselves either lost in a cause and manipulated by others to fight their war or find ourselves in the midst of quislings, collaborators to the highest degree. But even they too have their end, like a cycle, when the giant got up, he pounced upon the bee that stung him. The most important lesson here was, we should prepare ourselves for the decisive moment and not falter when we have it; or we lose that chance for a very long time. The Philippine Independence in 1946 taught us what every other history lesson showed us, unless we don’t make a stand or be loud… it will be assumed we have agreed, and then subjugation follows. Our incapacity for facing this made us the willing victims of a decolonization process but with another set of colonial processes that alienated us further from our land. We had never used the system to our benefit. With our fears that we would lose our faith , we lost our lands and this made our areas more smaller and made settlers own our land. They were merely pawns sent to occupy land for they were landless in Luzon and Visayas, as the Landlords wouldn’t give them, they ran to our homeland in search of Land. The Businessmen and capitalists duped our ancestors and bought large tracts of land with little money. Fooling many Lumads and Moros of their land. We should learn from this, educate our people. When the war came, we were very good in it, we were good in giving martyrs and better in overcoming our foes but we have forgotten our lessons again, unless our people are well organized, we will fall and succumb easily to the traps that the GRP had lain for us, this is why there are those that had chosen to surrender and integrate. WE had an efficient underground machinery but we had a poor aboveground movement which had caused a lot of our leaders to flee and seek asylum, cutting their links to the ground, inevitably some had made decisions that were based on theory not on actual conditions on the ground. We only had poorly divided PO’s and no NGO or support networks to strengthen community organizing and community development oriented people, so when the long set of Peace treaties were signed and phased to oblivion, everybody wanted to be in government but nobody was ready to run one but nobody had the capability to run one (except of course to corrupt and enrich oneself, except for a few) no one was spared from this tragedy. This caused us to split our ranks further and create divisions because our movement needed a deeply grounded ideology that was forestalled because many thought ISLAM will be our ideology as we progressed. But without defining what was our ideology

we were already destined to ruin. The Bangsamoro homeland is already inhabited by Tri-peoples, our Lumad brethren, Our Christian brethren who are descendants of the Christian settlers and Us the Moros. It is a fact undeniable that this is the Bangsamoro homeland, but they too are people who have grown to love this land, is it just that we deny them citizenship? Acknowledgement of this fact will give us tremendous advantage to our struggle. We only have to talk out with them. Our brethren and comrades in the MILF believe in Islam we too believe in it, it is our life, but the facts also dictate that there are some points that have to be acted upon. The late Sheik Salamat (alayhi irham) would’ve agreed that a state that is representative of the people is the best for all. As we are now pushing forward to a new era there are many things that we need to define; 1 What are we going to do? 2 What is our ideology or basis of unity? 3 What is in store when we gain our homeland’s freedom? It is indeed very hard to answer these questions especially when your answers may contrast that of your elders or those in power. But if you believe in it and work for it knowing it is the best solution, then it will work, Insha Allah. What indeed are we supposed to do? The answer to this simple question is divided into many levels. The first is to organize. The secret to any movement lies not only in its army but also in its mass movement, the stronger the mass movement the better. We must then define the roles of the aboveground movement in its relation to the underground movement and putting a line to define their roles and functions, this is to ensure that lesser people get killed or arrested and the movement gets the maximum effort. The aboveground movement must start organizing in the very moment it starts, core group and the likes as its very importance lies in its front lines, the struggle and the elders must realize that we need people with organizing skills who can easily organize, we also need the formation of NGO’s that goes along basic sectors and line services, for when the time that we have assumed government we have the right people who can handle and manage the various departments. This was the mistake of the MNLF had we people who were skilled in NGO work when we assumed ARMM, we could’ve minimized corruption and increased efficiency of the departments. We must not forget the role of the youth, which is indispensable to this, as they are the vanguard of our movement. The YMPN and the BSGN are formations that may prove indispensable to the movement, as they are formations with skills that may help the movement. We must define the relationship that we will have with one particular group that would be our ally in the upcoming days, the converts of Luzon and Visayas. They are in the process of having a mass movement of their own and view that the Bangsamoro homeland is a separate state that they respect. Their role in the propaganda machinery of the People’s bureau will be vital as they form a base where we can work on joint actions. The unification movement that is being initiated by both fronts (MNLF and MILF) is important and that pluralism will play a very vital part in it. Basic points of unity as well as convergence points will ensure that our

forces and fronts will not be divided, as the creation of a united front is indispensable to out struggle, this shall form the basis of our ideology although Islam shall play a central role in our actions. The creation of a united front will ensure that al efforts are coordinated and set into place. Allies from both the progressive movement and different countries must not be downplayed, as this will ensure our tactical and logistical strength as well as diplomatic recognition as a nation state. Although an Islamic state is not impossible due to the political and ethological realities of the composition of the people of our homeland a federal state may be in order after a transition government has been put into place with equal representation for all. It is indeed said that the overall moves are too much to be said in this paper but this will the topic and elucidation of a later policy paper once the central committee approves of this position that is being elucidated. WA TAWFIQ ILLA BI ALLAH. Yusuf Roque Santos Morales ==================== School Administrator Asian Academy of Business and Computers Professor, Sociology, Strategic Studies and Islamology Ubuntulinux user Linux machine # 365046. Mobile number +639275642816

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