Bangsamoro and the Moro Problem

Topics: Philippines, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mindanao Pages: 9 (2764 words) Published: October 21, 2008
Bangsa moro is a fusion of the word bangsa, meaning nation or people in Malay, and moro or moor which is a Spanish term for Arabs or Muslims. The Bangsa moro is the general name referring to the 13 ethnolinguistic Muslim tribes in the Philippines which comprise a quarter of the total population in Mindanao with an approximate population of 4.5 million Muslims (East, 1005). Their ways of life may differ from each other as well as the dialects they speak but it is their religion Islam that serves as a strong unifying factor that binds them together as a strong nation, a nation entirely different to the Philippine government, so they claim.

For centuries, the Muslims have been engaging in wars against different colonizers to maintain their independence but gone are the days of conquistadors, now the Filipino-Muslims from the last four decades has been at war not against foreigners but against their fellow countrymen. Five administrations has passed, major peace agreements have been signed, a number of cease fires have been declared, and countless lives have been sacrificed but still the Moro problem has yet to see a genuine solution that will bring to end this centuries-old national issue. And now more than ever, the Moro problem has received much attention when the call for Philippine constitutional amendment became the recent prospect of Arroyo’s administration as possible answer to the Muslim’s call for independent statehood. But with much publicity of the on-going war it is interesting to note that despite all the media coverage and news reports given to the public only but few are fully aware of the root cause of the Moro problem thus some coined it “a misunderstood war” which may explain why attempts to resolve the issue have failed countless times.

Review of Related Literature

The Importance of Land
According to “Contesting Land and Identity In The Periphery: The Moro Indigenous People of Southern Philippines” by M. Fianza land and ethnicity are inseparable, that is, until the dispute of land is resolved especially the issue of ancestral domain, one can expect a certain ethnicities and cultures not to prosper as in the case of the focus of this paper the Muslim ethnicity and culture.

Highlighting the importance of land is a contextual judgment, the use of reason within the context and culture of the Muslims. The Muslims and Christians do not value land the same way and in order to understand the issue more we need to understand why the issue of ancestral domain is so important to them. Judgments within the Muslim culture form a collective consciousness which is an independent organism form the rest of Filipino culture. From this perspective we can clearly see that The Muslims see Christians as the pathogens and vice versa. intersubjectivity of Christians is very different form intersubjectivity of Muslims that is why conflict arises.

Why Peace is Elusive
In the journal article “The Bangsa Moro: Fighting for Freedom During the War on Terror: The Muslim Independence Movement of the Southern Philippines” by Bob East, the author focused on the reasons why peace is so elusive and why current and past negotiations have failed. Basically there are two types of frictions: internal and external. The internal friction is caused by the conflict between MNLF and MILF and the external friction which is the lack of sincerity and clear agenda of the government towards Mindanao.

The MNLF- MILF conflict can be seen as thesis and antithesis from the point of view of Marx and to be able resolve conflict synthesis must be made. Form this perspective mode of production is basically agricultural, that is why the issue of ancestral domain is important. Who holds the rights for ancestral domain also holds the rights to till and enjoy the benefits of the soil. What usually happens is Luzon and Visayas benefits form the products of Mindanao causing alienation in the sense that Mindanao does not prosper form its own...

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