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Who are not moros in Mindanao and Sulu?


A lot of people hate knowing about certain historical facts because these do not fit into their political aspirations and power imaginings. To them truths about history which do not support their POWER AGENDA are better suppressed and buried forever in oblivion. But those historical events which advance their ancestral identity, culture, and heritage, are held of highest value and importance even if these have no indigenous roots or foundations. Now that they are in power, they want the language, culture, and history of their colonial ancestors to be highlighted all the time. This alien colonial heritage is regarded as more superior and should be promoted, preserved, and practiced. The Moro heritage is again relegated to the backwaters and backburners of day-to-day cultural and political realities.

It was the Spaniards who said that the native inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu were Moros. Now that the people of Mindanao and Sulu who the Spaniards generically called Moros are asserting their ownership of these territories by virtue of history, ancient statehood, and ancestry, many oppose it because they had already been integrated into the body politic of the Republic of the Philippines. But don’t you think, the inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu should have been consulted and their consent should have been sought prior to the incorporation of these territories to the Republic of the Philippines on July 4, 1946.

If you want to know more about the major political events and applicable laws during the Spanish and American occupation of Mindanao and Sulu, please read the Law of Nations, the Law of Treaties, the Law on Conquest, the Charter of the United Nations, and the 1787 Constitution of the United States. Kindly also read  the declaration of Sultan Jamalul Kiram II and the fifty-seven prominent Sulu leaders in a petition to the United States Government on June 9, 1921. Don’t forget to get hold of the Beacon Bill in the United States Senate (House Bill 12772, 69th Congress, First Session, May 6, 1926.) Try also to get hold of a copy of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934.  Grab the opportunity of reading the book by Robert A. Fulton, “MOROLAND: The History of Uncle Sam and the Moros 1899-1920.” And finally also include in your readings, the historic Dansalan Declaration in 1935.  You might get the shock of your life if you discover the truth and nothing but the truth.

In Zamboanga for instance, the natives such as the Subanons, Samas, and the Tuasogs were all called Moros by the Spaniards. There was no such thing as “Asia’s Latin City” for this term was just concocted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod about three years ago just to promote a foreign dialect called “Chabacano, which according to language researchers is composed of about 70% Spanish, a clear manifestation that the local legislators generally prefer Hispanic cultural influences than the indigenous or Moro cultural heritage. This was the principal reason why they had legally branded themselves as Latins.   

In Basilan and other indigenous communities were also called Moros so with the other ethno-linguistic groups living in other parts of Mindanao and Sulu. Over the course of more than three hundred years, in their desperate attempts to conquer (but miserably failed according to historians) Mindanao and Sulu, the Spaniards succeeded in converting many of the Moros who were either pagans or practicing the Islam faith to Christianity. These Christian converts were subsequently called Filipinos and became subjects of the Spanish Crown. All the islands which were either conquered or colonized by Spain became “ a las islas como Filipinas en honor de Felipe II de España ” courtesy of Ruy Lopez the Villalobos.

Conclusively, therefore, even the “Filipinos” in Mindanao and Sulu came from the group who the Spaniards generally called, “Moros.”  It becomes very clear now, that the only people who were not Moros in Mindanao and Sulu were the Spaniards and Americans being the invaders and colonizers for more than three hundred years and forty- seven years, respectively; and both being the givers  and authors of the “Moro” and “ Moroland” monikers in that chronological sequence.

So for both the Spaniards and the Americans, Moros really refer to all the inhabitants who include the Christianized Filipinos, the Muslims, and all the other ethno-linguistic and religious groups in Mindanao and Sulu. This was the reason why they organized a military and civilian government exclusively for the Moroland separate from the Philippine Islands.  We are therefore, all brothers and sisters by race, history, and culture. One people, once race, and one cultural heritage! Mindanao and Sulu, therefore, belong to all of us, the “Moros.”

Who do you think are not Moros in Mindanao and Sulu?

By Clem M. Bascar

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