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The historical injustices on Bangsa-Sug of Sulu Sultanate


(BY: DATU ALBI DAKULA JULKARNAIN)    Looking back into the history of Sulu Sultanate in the present days is not the fact of its historical existence, but it is important for us to trace of the past that will offer new perspective to understand as to why the Bangsa-Sug of Sulu Sultanate continuously fight against oppressions on their cultural heritage, political structure, economic, religion and freedom for self-determination. Thus, it is high time to know and how these aspirations came into conflict with the Philippine government, in order to serve as an opening window for mutual understanding and tolerance towards building the culture of peace in our present days. To quote Dr. Jose Rizal saying: “In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past.”

History accounts that after realizing their claim to sovereignty over Sulu Sultanate territory could not be qualified under the law of war, the Americans resulted to using deceptive measures, tricks and false promises to the Bangsa-Sug people in order to place the Sulu Sultanate territory under their control. These injustices were done because the occupation of the American forces in Sulu archipelago was not authorized by the United States Congress, since Sulu Sultanate was not colonial possession of the Spanish Crown nor political sub-division of the first Philippine Republic of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

William James, a great American Philosopher has this to say: “The Americans occupation of the Sultanate of Sulu territory was a protracted “infamy” towards the islanders, and one protracted “lie” toward ourselves”.

Despite the fact that the Americans has no legal mandate to rule the Bangsa-Sug, they created laws and forced the citizens of Sulu Sultanate abide with it. On June 1, 1903, the Philippine Commission Act No. 787 created the Moro province. With the junction of Mindanao and Sulu under the Moro province, the political status of Sulu Sultanate as a sovereign nation-state was reduced into a mere province only, without the concurrence of the “Ruma Bichara” (Legislative Body) of Sulu Sultanate in violation to Section 3, Article IV of the 1787 U.S. Constitution which clearly stated that “New States may be admitted by Congress into this union but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states without the consent of the states concerned as well as of the Congress”.

The historical injustices done by the United States to the Sultanate of Sulu were transferred or inherited by the Philippine Republic after accepting its independence from the United States. In other words, the Philippine government accepted the responsibility to accommodate all the wrong doing of the United States that caused the present peace and order problems in Sulu archipelago.

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