Tuesday, 12 June 2012 19:24
The nation is celebrating Independence Day today, Tuesday, June 12. Katipunero revolutionaries ended Spain’s over 300 years of colonial rule in 1898, but immediately thereafter the United States continued with another half-century of foreign rule over the archipelago. To this day, both countries but continue to influence the Philippines one way or the other.
There were many pocket rebellions and resistance against the two colonial regimes, but those waged from Mindanao and Sulu were the fiercest and longest lasting. Warriors from the South raided Spanish forts and Christian settlements, they ambushed American soldiers; and, Muslim leaders petitioned the United States government to exclude Mindanao to be a nation separate from the Manila state.
Muslim resistance has since metamorphosed into the contemporary Bangsamoro struggle. Although they have dropped secession in the ongoing peace negotiations, they continue to aspire for a separate, highly autonomous government at the very least.
If the Bangsamoros’ dream is driven by cultural pride, there is seemingly among a good many Mindanao Christians a sentiment for independence borne out of frustrations with the Manila government. There have been such Christian-based independence movements in recent years, most prominently expressed today by a more moderate call for a federal system of government.
Not a few Mindanao Christians are extremely unhappy with how the Manila government has neglected all these years their socio-economic welfare, pursuing instead a predominantly militarist and divide and conquer policy in the region. It has resulted in Mindanao being the poorest and most violent region in the country today.
Without economic well-being, social peace is almost impossible. These basic aspirations because they are missing in the lives of much of today’s Filipinos – but particularly Mindanaoans - can only mean that the struggle for many kinds of freedom must carry on.
by: Peace Advocates Zamboanga
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