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The original root cause of conflicts in Mindanao and Sulu


One Hundred Fourteen (114) years ago or in the year 1899 is not yet too far for the Bangsa Sug generation of today to remember the time of the intrusion of the American forces to the monarchial domain of Sulu Sultanate that have caused the dislocation of the Bangsa Sug people from their homeland due to political oppression and marginalization of the adherents of Sulu Sultanate by the Untied States colonial government.

It is clearly understood based from the Law of Nations, Law of Wars, and the International Law that the Sultanate of Sulu is still an independent and sovereign state, although it was illegally incorporated into the de facto government of the Philippines when the United States of America granted the independence to the Philippines on July 4, 1946. This was how the confusions and the conflicts started. The Philippine government inherited these conflicts, and continuous campaigning others to join their ways of thinking inorder to deny the rights of the Bangsa Sug people to regain their liberty, justice and freedom for self-determination as provided for in the United Nations resolutions.

Today, the Sultanate of Sulu is on its way to restore its sovereignty, territory, and to be independence once again as it was before. Last July, 2007, a big gathering of Bangsa Sug and formed themselves into an organization called UNITED TAUSUG PEOPLE (UTP). The convenors of the assembly were young professional Tausugs headed by Mr. Asarani Samsi, a political science graduate from MSU-Sulu, and joined by Atty. Meltino Sibulan, a young Tausug lawyer, acting as the legal counsel of the organization. The United Tausug People declared during the assembly that the citizens and/or adherents of the Sultanate of Sulu known as the Bangsa Sug are still existing, a distinct human race from the Bangsamoro of Mindanao, and Filipinos of the Philippines.

The United Tausug People (UTP) are coming mostly from the middle class of Tausug, and well-educated, articulate, and with strong courage to restore the independent and sovereignty of the Sultanate of Sulu State through diplomatic and peaceful resolution by invoking the historical documents, the United Nations resolutions and the international law. They have the supports of all Bangsa Sug People from all over Sulu archipelago, and even the Bangsa Sug residing in Sabah, Malaysia and those staying in other foreign countries. The Bangsa Sug people are the real stakeholders of the territorial jurisdiction of Sulu Sultanate, with the royal Datus as their traditional leaders.

The peace process under the administration of President Aquino should take into consideration the historical, ideological, and cultural foundations of the Bangsa Sug and Bangsamoro. History accounts that there were three nations or countries fighting separately against the Spanish forces in their areas.  These were the Bangsa Sug of Sulu Sultanate, the Bangsamoro of Maguindanao Sultanate, and the Filipinos of the Philippines. To meet a genuine peace talk, the peace process should address the original territorial boundaries between Sulu Sultanate and Maguindanao Sultanate inorder to identify the real stakeholders of these places.  The GRP Peace Panel of President Aquino  should not follow the methodologies used by the previous administrations where the Philippine government just set-up to appease and/or satisfy the armed revolutionary leaders in the absence of the legitimate stakeholders of Sulu Sultanate.

By: Datu Albi A. Julkarnain

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