Bangsamoro Struggle

Abhoud Syed M. Lingga
Executive Director Institute of Bangsamoro Studies

Symposium on “The Plight of Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Struggle” University Convention Center, Central Mindanao University Musuan, Bukidnon September 13, 2006

Costs of the conflict
• • • • • 50,000 deaths 2 million refugees 535 mosques destroyed 200 schools demolished 35 cities and towns destroyed

Costs of the conflict
• Government spent P76 billion from 19701996 • Government spent no less than P6 billion in 2000 all-out war against the MILF • Economic output lost directly – $2 billion to $3 billion from 1970-2001 (about P5 billion to P7.5 billion annually)

Who are the conflicting parties?
• The Government of the Republic of the Philippines • The Bangsamoro people
– Represented by
• Moro National Liberation Front • Moro Islamic Liberation Front

Who are the Bangsamoro?

The Muslims who traditionally inhabited Mindanao, the islands of Basilan, Palawan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi call themselves Bangsamoro.

They are the
Iranun Magindanaon Maranao Tao-Sug Sama Yakan Badjao Jama Mapun Ka’gan Kalibugan Sangil Molbog Palawani

Bangsamoro Homeland
• The traditional homeland of the Bangsamoro people were the territories under the jurisdiction of their governments before the Philippine Republic. • The Sulu Sultanate exercised sovereignty over the present day provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan, Basilan and the Malaysian state of Sabah (North Borneo).

Bangsamoro Homeland
The territory of the Magindanaw Sultanate included Maguindanao province, the coastal areas of the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani, parts of Lanao provinces, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental, and the eastern part of Zamboanga del Sur. The Datu Dakula of Sibugay, who ruled the Sibugay autonomous region under the Magindanaw Sultanate, exercised jurisdiction over Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City and the western part of Zamboanga del Sur.

Bangsamoro Homeland
The Rajah of Buayan ruled North Cotabato, the upper valley of Maguindanao and the interior areas of Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato and some parts of Bukidnon. The Pat a Pangampong ko Ranao (confederation of the four lake-based emirates) ruled the interior parts of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and parts of Bukidnon, and eastern and western Misamis provinces. The small sultanate of Kabuntalan separates the domains of Magindanaw and Buayan

Core issue is the assertion of the Bangsamoro people for restoration of their independence. Other Issues –
•Land •mass poverty •neglect •underdevelopment •social inequities

Bases of Bangsamoro Struggle for Self-determination
• Their historical right as free and independent nation before the formation of the Philippine state • Their unpleasant experiences under the Philippine republic

Historical Experiences
• Before the arrival of the Spanish colonialists the Bangsamoro were already in the process of state formation, while Luzon and the Visayas were still in the barangay stage of political development. • They had developed well-organized administrative and political systems; and • Organized strong maritime and infantry forces that defended the Bangsamoro territories from Western colonial intrusion, thus preserving the continuity of their independence

Historical Experiences
• Resistance continued even during the American occupation. Although the sultanate-sponsored resistance were not as fierce as during the Spanish-Moro wars, but group-organized and individual resistance (prang sabil – martyrdom seeking operations) continued. • These compelled the U.S. to govern the Moro territories separate from the Philippine Islands.

Historical Experiences
When the U.S. planned to grant independence to the Philippines, Bangsamoro leaders petitioned the U.S. government that the Bangsamoro territories should not be included in the would-be Philippine Republic. – June 9, 1921- petition of the people of Sulu – February 1, 1924 - Declaration of Rights and Purposes (Zamboanga declaration) – March 18, 1935 - Dansalan Declaration

Historical Experiences
When their territories were made part of the Philippine Republic in 1946, the Bangsamoro people continue to assert their right to independence – Amilbangsa Bill (H.B. 5682) – MIM Manifesto – Organization of the MNLF and MILF

Experiences Under the Philippines
Strong bias and prejudice of the Christian majority towards the Muslims
– Filipinas Foundation study (1973)
• Muslim-Filipinos were the “least likeable” ethnic group • 54% of respondents had unfavorable comments towards Muslims

– Philippine Human Development Report (2005)
• 33% to 39% of Filipinos are biased against Muslims • 46% of Christian population would choose Christian male worker and 40% Christian female domestic helper. Only 4% will choose a Muslim male worker and 7% Muslim female domestic helper. • In Metro Manila 57 percent opt for residence with higher rent but far from a Muslim community.

Experiences Under the Philippines Minoritization of the Bangsamoro in their own homeland
In 1918, the Muslims were dominant in Mindanao but government settlement and development programs reduced them, together with the IPs, minority in their homeland.

Muslim Majority Areas 2000 Census


Experiences Under the Philippines

Failure of the Government
– to protect the interest of the Bangsamoro people over their lands. – Worst still, government development programs are among the reasons why they lost their lands to migrants from the north.

Public Land Law and Resettlement
Year Allowed Number of Hectares Homesteader Moro and Corporation Wild Tribe 16 has. 24 has. 16 has. No provision 10 has. 4 has. 1,024 has. 1,024 has. 1,024 has.

1903 1919 1936

Experiences Under the Philippines
Failure of Government to deliver basic services and needed development
Muslim areas continue to suffer the highest poverty incidence. Between 1991-1997, there was reduction in poverty incidence in many parts of the country but in predominantly Muslim areas poverty incidence increased.

Incidence of Poor Families
80 60 40 20 0 Lanao Sur Maguindanao Sulu Tawi-Tawi Basilan 1997 55.6 41.6 67.1 35 20.9 2000 55 55 63.2 56.5 26.2

Human Development Index, 2003
National Rank 76 68 77 74 75 Provinces Maguindanao Lanao del Sur Sulu Basilan Tawi-Tawi HDI 0.36 0.48 0.45 0.41 0.36

Note: The HDI is a summary measure of human development. It measures the average achievement

in a country in three basic dimensions of human development, namely: Longevity as measured by life expectancy at birth; Knowledge, as measured by basic enrollment ratio; Standard of Llving, as measured by real income per capita (Philippine Human Development Report, 2005, UNDP Source: Human Development Report 2005 (UNDP)

Experiences Under the Philippines
Failure of Government to protect their persons and properties
– Reported massacres of Muslims remain unsolved until now (e.g., massacres in Manili, Tacub, Malisbung, Pata island) – Reported bombings of mosques remain unsolved. – A senior police superintendent was quoted (see Manila Times website, 11/19/03) to have said: “We are at war with Islam, and the Muslims are the aggressors. Nobody wants to recognize that, but that’s what’s happening.”