Saturday, 25 September 2010 09:27
Based on the historical accounts compiled and published on the Internet by Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia, Basilan, an island which the French called Taguime, was blockaded by the French Navy under the command of Admiral Cecille for the purpose of establishing a network that would protect French trade in the area.
Such Naval Blockade was strongly protested by the Spanish Governor, asserting that Basilan already a year earlier recognized Spain’s sovereignty. Defiantly ignoring such protest, the French then forced the Basilan datus to sign a document affirming their “absolute independence vis-à-vis Spain on January l3, l845 aboard the steamer, Archimede.
To acquire sovereignty over the island of Basilan, on February 20, l845, France forced the Sultan of Sulu to formally cede it in exchange for l00,000 piastres or 500,000 French francs. The French Admiral completely ignored Spanish protests. However, the inhabitants of Basilan according to the same historical source, remained loyal to Spain and fought against the French for a year forcing the French King, Louis Philippe, also a Bourbon, to eventually abandon its sovereignty interest over the island of Basilan despite the fact that the French Cabinet had already approved its annexation and its budgetary requirement for Basilan.
If France remained steadfast on its desire to acquire sovereignty and territorial ownership of Basilan, most likely Basilan today would have not been a part of the Philippines but a French colonial possession. Of course, it is with the assumption that the Spanish Crown did not pursue its protest against the sovereignty claim of the French over Basilan.
The dropping of French sovereignty claim over Basilan eventually led to the proclamation on August 5, l845 by the French Government to formally turn over full sovereignty over Basilan to Spain which made it indisputably a colony of Spain by virtue of the law of conquest and diplomatic instruments applicable at that time.
By the way, what is the implication of this particular historical event as it relates to the forthcoming new round of Peace Talks. With this historical revelation, one can argue that Basilan in its geographical entirety, was a colony of the Spanish Crown, and therefore, the issue of ancestral lands or domains could be argued as without any relevance since this particular colonial possession was among the territories which were sold and ceded to the United States Under the December l0, l898 Treaty of Paris. Unlike other unconquered areas in Mindanao and Sulu, Basilan now belongs constitutionally to the territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. Anyway, this should not upset any anyone, for I am just expressing a strictly personal viewpoint.
By Clem M. Bascar
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