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Moro sub-state - An American concept


As I explained previously, the term Moro has no indigenous dialectal or linguistic roots. In short, it’s entirely a Spanish lingual invention which was used to refer to all the inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu when they first set their foreign feet on the shores of these two ancient monarchial territories to conquer, colonize, and Christianize as early as 1578. As a matter of historical truth, before the coming of the Spaniards, there was no Moro inhabitant to speak of in Mindanao and Sulu.

According to Salah Jubair, author of the book, entitled, ‘Bangsamoro, A Nation Under Endless Tyranny,’ copyright 1999 “ all the monikers assigned to the natives, Indio, Moro, and Filipino were given by the Spaniards. History should credit them for given us all these names, either out of hatred or by reason of similarities, or by force of circumstances, or by all of the above.”

While it is true that the Spaniards really tried with all the might to place Mindanao and Sulu under the Crown of Spain for more than three hundred years, historians generally say that they miserably failed. It was the United States who occupied Mindanao and Sulu starting with the unintended or sneak arrival in Sulu of the American Forces on May l9, l999 whose specific order was to occupy Fort Pilar but was repelled by the revolutionary forces under the command of General Vicente Solis Alvarez who captured the biggest Spanish fortress in Mindanao following the surrender of the last Spanish Governor-General, Diego delos Rios together with all the remaining colonial forces on May 18, l899. Virtually and irrefutably with this historical fact, it was not the Americans who freed the Zamboanga and the entire Philippines from the Crown of Spain by virtue of the Law of War, but the revolutionary forces under the unified command of General Vicente Solis Alvarez who established the short-lived genuine de facto Zamboanga Republic. So the Zamboanguenos (not Latinos) should be extremely proud of this colossal military victory achieved by the Revolutionary Army of General Vicente Solis Alavrez unparalleled and umatched by any other revolutionary leaders in Luzon and the Visayas. Does the GRP Panel know this historical fact?

The concept of a sub-state, or state within a state, was first applied by the Americans in governing the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu separate from the Christian Filipinos of Visayas and Luzon. These was because, the Americans considered the Moros to be a separate and distinct nationality from the Filipinos. Placing these two nationalities which seemed to consider each other as traditional enemies, would pose tremendous difficulties for the Americans to govern effectively. So the Americans never integrated the Moros into the mainstream of Philippine body politic, not until the Philippines was granted Independence by the United States on July 4, l946 under the Tydings-McDuffie Act (officially the Philippine Independence Act; Public Law 73- 127, approved March 24, 1934.)    

There were actually several names of the Moro sub-state that the Americans gave to govern the inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu. The first one was organized on October 30, l899 and was called the Military District of Mindanao, Jolo, and Palawan. This was under the Command of Gen John Bates. On March 20, 1900, Brig. William Kobbe took over and afterwards, the status of the Command was changed to the Department of Mindanao and Jolo. When Gen William Kobbe was replaced by Brig. George Davis  on October 1, 1902, after a few adjustments in the structure, on July 10, 1902, it was renamed Department of Mindanao. And finally, on June 1, 1903, the Moro Province was created. (Reference: Salah Jubair. BANGSAMORO, A Nation Under Endless Tyranny, Copyright, 1999, p. 64.)

If the sub-state that is being conceptualized will definitely lead to the attainment of meaningful, durable, genuine, and sustainable peace, progress, and development of Mindanao and Sulu, why should anybody oppose it? If however, it will just be another political sub-structure for the ascendancy of another set of power seekers and dreamers and only for the satisfaction of their dynastic lusts and caprices, then let’s  all unite and oppose it using history as our impregnable, indestructible, unimpeachable, and peaceful defense. NO need for employment guns, flaming emotions, or any methods of violence. We are not the gladiators of Rome, but the descendants of a peace-loving tribe- the farm-based and humble Subanens/Subanons who first settled in the garden of flowers not in Latium but in Jambangan, a long, long, time ago.

By the way, why are you so worried? Don’t you know your history? Are you not a true Zamboangueno? Or are you afraid that someone else will occupy your throne? With history on our side, we have no reason to be afraid of unless we are not genuine Zamboanguenos or Moros according to the Spaniards.

By Clem M. Bascar

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