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What's the Moro Province?


Many of us tend to believe that the Moro Province was a political creation of the inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu. On the contrary, it was created by the Americans through Philippine Commission Act No. 787 or the “ 1903  Act Providing for the Organization and the Government of the Moro Province which comprised Mindanao and Sulu. It was an administrative structure which the Americans organized to govern the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu separate from the Civil Government they established for the Christian Filipinos in the Visayas and Luzon. The term “”Moro Province” was used to refer to all the territories comprising Mindanao and Sulu as differentiated from the Philippine Islands, the colonial possession of Spain which was ceded and sold to the United States for $20-million under Article III of the December 10, Treaty of Paris. In fact the Philippine Assembly never had any representative from Mindanao and Sulu because these territories were classified as inhabited by the Moros and other non-Christian tribes. So as directed by then President Theodore Roosevelt, the general election for the choice of delegates to a popular assembly of the people of the territory of the Philippine Islands not inhabited by Moros or other non-Christian tribes was called by James F. Smith, Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, on March 30, 1907 and was known as the Philippine Assembly without any member elected from Mindanao and Sulu.

After the abolition of the military government established by the United States for the government of the Philippine Islands based on the Laws of War, the First Philippine Commission was installed on September I, 1900, The Military Governor-General Wesley Merritt, gave up a portion of his authority with the inauguration of a civil governor on July 4, 1901. General Merritt relinquished all civil power except as to the Moro Province which lasted until September, 1914.

But why did the Americans organize the Moro Province? On page 65 of the book written by Salah Jubair, entitled “Bangsamoro, A Nation Under Endless Tyranny,” he disclosed that the main reason given by the Americans for the change of approach from non-intervention to direct intervention with the creation of the Moro Province was to “prepare the Moros for integration into the body politic of the colonial government.”

So this again, supports our assertion that Mindanao and Sulu were never considered parts of the Philippine Islands, the colonial possession of Spain which was ceded and sold to the United States under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. In fact this historical fact was confirmed officially by the Americans in the Bates Treaty of August 20, 1899 and the Carpenter Memorandum of March 22, 1915. How Mindanao and Sulu became eventually parts of the Republic of the Philippines. Please ask the Americans and the Spaniards.

Perhaps the best persons to explain why Mindanao and Sulu are now de facto political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the members of the GRP Peace Panel.

By Clem M. Bascar

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