Submitted on October 10, 2008
BA Political Science
Thesis: Ancestral domain, cultural differences, and hostilities in Mindanao are the reasons behind the Muslims’ appeal for secession.
II. Muslims have occupied Mindanao even before the colonization of the country. a. A ‘baranganic’ society and government were established before the spread of Islam in the country. b. Sultanates were formed during the spread of Islam in the country. c. Foreign colonization was unfalteringly resisted by the Muslims of Mindanao.
III. Cultural differences have resulted in a scarce understanding of the Muslims by the rest of the population. a. Muslims were influenced by certain Islamic beliefs and the structure of the Moro society. b. Muslims were deprived of privileges, discriminated against, and considered a minority group.
IV. The government and the Muslims have caused hostilities against each other for years. a. The aggression between the government and the Muslims was escalated during the Commonwealth period and the Marcos regime. b. Mindanao was disputed over from the Ramos regime to the Arroyo regime. c. The Muslims’ actions against the government were supported by Islamic countries.
Reasons behind the Muslims’ Appeal for Secession
Before the rise of imperialism, various ethnicities have already been formed in different parts of the world. For instance, prior to the development of the United States, the Native Americans had flourished by having religion, government, and culture. After the country’s progress, Native Americans became a minority, despite their earlier occupation of the United States.
The Moros have been undergoing the same experience. But unlike the Native Americans, the Moros have been demanding secession from the Republic. Recently, the country has been faced with the controversial issue of the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. The Moros have made another attempt at self-governance with this MOA-AD, hence, the proposal of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. But the government has delayed with the signing and then refused to authorize the agreement. Consequently, this has caused the escalation of the MILF attacks in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato. MILF chiefs claim that their aggression would stop only if the government agrees to sign the said agreement. This has not been the first attempt of the Muslims to secede from the government. This includes the establishment of the different Islamic fronts and the ARMM. This brings about the question, “Why do the Muslims demand separation from the country?” This study seeks to broaden the reader’s knowledge about the social implication of Muslim secession by focusing on its reasons. It also attempts to re-examine the issue by recalling events from the past and incorporating them with current ones, by providing an honest and objective perspective. One of the reasons behind the Muslims’ appeal for secession is Muslim occupation of Mindanao prior to foreign rule. Before the spread of Islam in the country, the pre-Islamic Philippine society was already formed by a government, culture, religion, and an economy, independent of Western influence (Agoncillo, 1990; Constantino, 1975; Glang, 1969). The barangay is the period’s social unit, consisting of nearly 100 houses with a population that could be as numerous as 500 people (Constantino, 1975). In fact, Agoncillo (1990) reveals that social classification was already established. The nobility was made up of chieftains, the freemen of unbound men, and dependents of slaves. He further discusses that laws, which deal with crimes, inheritance, property rights, and other issues were either customary or written. Religion, he also says, was polytheistic. In spite of the simplicity of the political and social organization, trade was established with the Chinese, Arabs, and the Indians...
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