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EDITORIAL

19 December 2012

BANGSAMORO HISTORICAL NOTES

PHILIPPINE AND MALAYSIAN COLONIALISM:
AFRAID OF BANGSAMORO FREEDOM?

 
 


FROM 'QUIRINO-RECTO COLONIZATION ACT' FOR MINDANAO TO 'RIGGED REFERENDUM' IN NORTH BORNEO (SABAH)

Today in Southeast Asia, the wickedness of brutish colonialism is masked still by Philippines and Malaysia. While Philippine colonialism is still exploiting shamelessly the mineral, agricultural and aquatic riches of the Filipino-occupied Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA), Malaysian colonialism is also comfortably basking in the land-grab of North Borneo (Sabah), which historically and rightfully belongs to the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (SSNB).

     

Thus, deeply analyzing the colonial situation, how does this impact on the Bangsamoro struggle for freedom against the Philippine government? Apparently now, why is the Philippine and Malaysian government afraid of Bangsamoro freedom leading them to conspire in preserving colonialism in Mindanao? 

     

In November 15, 1935, the proclamation to the National Assembly by the Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon in colonizing and occupying MINSUPALA highlighted in history the gross injustice perpetrated by the avaricious Filipino colonizers against the Muslim and Highlander natives of the Bangsamoro homeland.

 

The megalomaniac and oppressive leadership character of the Philippine Commonwealth regime exemplified by the exploitative unscrupulous Filipino politicians, such as, Manuel L. Quezon, Claro M. Recto, Elpidio Quirino and other cohorts, translated into the enactment of 'Legislative Act 4197' otherwise known as the 'Quirino-Recto Colonization Act', declaring officially the 'legalized land-grabbing' of the ancestral lands of the Muslim and Lumad natives of Mindanao to be opened and capriciously used for settlements by the exodus of Christian Filipinos from Luzon and Visayas, including the dregs of Philippine society - ex-convicts, prostitutes and violent squatters in Luzon.

 

Simply put, the colonial design was a duplicate of the US government systematic land-grabbing of the ancestral homeland of the Indian natives of America through deceptive peace-signing treaties and massacring of the different tribal groupings leading to the gradual extinction of the early historical Indian Nation.

 

To the shameless Filipino colonizers, like Quezon and company, the colonization and occupation of the Bangsamoro ancestral domain done under the pretext of 'development' would presumably solve the problems of the Manila government with the restive freedom-loving Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

 

However, the brazenly unjust gluttonous political maneuver shrewdly conceived and executed by the early arrogant Filipino politicians in complicity with their American benefactors proved to be their undoing because this has today condemned the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities to the bloody 4-decades long Mindanao war. Tragically, the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao has only rendered the 'Catholic Philippine nation' into a showcase of 'war-mongers', 'war freaks', 'political, military and judicial thieves' characterized by impeachment and plunder cases in the Executive, Judiciary and Military branches of government.

 

OTHER FACTORS LEADING TO THE FILIPINO-MORO WAR IN MINDANAO

In the late 1960s, the Bangsamoro people's struggle for independence and national self-determination was launched by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under Chairman Prof. Nur Misuari, Vice-Chairman Abdul Khayr Alonto and Foreign Affairs Chairman Ustaj Salamat Hashim to expose the brutality and savagery of the Philippine Marcos government in waging a war of genocide and extermination against the colonized people of Mindanao. The genocidal war executed  by the Marcos regime typified the ugliness of ethnic cleansing similar to the cruel bastardization of the Bosnian people on the dirty hands of the oppressive Serbian soldiers in Eastern Europe. The colonial Filipino occupation soldiers in the Mindanao battlefields executed their version of ethnic cleansing by indiscriminate mass murder of helpless civilians, including salvaging of suspected rebels, killing women and children, raping Muslim and Lumad women caught in the war zone and burning native houses in the villages.

 

As classic example of the cruelty and brutality of Philippine colonialism was the February 7, 1974 war in the town center of Jolo. The Marcos regime vehemently attempted in hiding the Jolo battle from local and international media, but never did succeed because of the magnitude of the one-day mass killing of Muslim, Christian and Chinese civilians inside the town by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) bombardments from land, sea and air. The Philippine military occupation soldiers deliberately burned the Jolo metropolis in dislodging the MNLF freedom fighters from the town center, resulting in the mass murder of 'more than 20,000 civilians' excluding the AFP and MNLF combatants.

 

During that chaotic period of the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao in early 1970s, the MNLF freedom fighters battled the colonial AFP occupation forces in Davao, Cotabato, Lanao, Zamboanga peninsula, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Palawan, marking a full-blown war that the embarrassed Marcos regime could not anymore hide from international scrutiny.

 

Thus, just like in the past, Philippine colonialism under President Marcos wanted to solve unexpectedly the worsening Mindanao problem that had caught the attention like a running wild fire of the global community of nations, particularly the Islamic Ummah. But this time with the primordial intent to preserve still Filipino colonialism in war-torn Mindanao to lengthen the 'Qurino-Recto Colonization Act' of 1935, the Marcos regime invited the MNLF leadership through the mediation of then Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to peace talks that led to the forging of the December 22, 1976 Tripoli Peace Agreement.

 

However, playing a treacherous political game from the beginning, the Philippine Marcos government unilaterally implemented the first MNLF-OIC-GRP Peace Agreement, resulting to the resumption of the Filipino-Moro war all over Mindanao. This was ominously marked by the killing of the Jolo-based 5th Tabak Division Brigade Commander, Brig. Gen. Teofilo Bautista, Sr. and several of the high-ranking AFP officers, who rushed to Jolo to participate and oversee the surrender of the legendary Bangsamoro mass leader, 'Amah' Usman Salih, erstwhile Patikul Vice-Mayor. But instead met their doom in the exact town razed to the ground in 1974 by the brutish AFP killing machine.

 

In 1968, President Corazon C. Aquino attempted to put closure to the Mindanao war by inviting to fresh peace negotiations the MNLF, which the Aquino family through Agapito 'Butz' Aquino and Norberto Gonzales sought help in safeguarding the voting in Mindanao during the 1996 snap election called by the Marcos regime. After the face-to-face meeting of President Aquino and MNLF Chairman Misuari in Jolo in 1986, the peace talks were conducted in Jeddah, leading to the signing of the MNLF-OIC-GRP Jeddah Peace Accord on April 17, 1987. The agreement clearly outlined the faithful implementation of the 13-province and 8-city 1976 Tripoli Peace Agreement.Nonetheless, this was never meant for implementation by the Aquino government because the GRP peace panel, headed by then Philippine-US Ambassador Emmanuel Pelaez, offered surprisingly the MNLF the outrageous proposal of '10 plus 3 formula' in the implementation of the Jeddah Peace Accord. Clearly, this involved a treacherous turn-around gesture of the non-implementation of both the 1976 and 1987 peace agreements because the superficial proposal would simply mean that autonomy would be initially implemented in 10 provinces, minus 3 provinces, particularly Davao, Zamboanga and Palawan.

 

Thus, the deceptive political move of the Philippine Aquino government only unmasked the duplicity and insincerity of the Aquino regime to faithfully implement the Jeddah Accord, leading to the eruption of war between the AFP occupation soldiers and MNLF freedom fighters in Labatan, Zamboanga del Sur. The sudden breakout of war in Zamboanga later escalated into a full blown war in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.

 

At this historical juncture, the Philippine Aquino regime fabricated the 4-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which was offered to the MNLF, but rejected outright by both the MNLF and OIC leadership as merely a farcical governmental entity to resolve the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao. Simply said, it would only serve a national administrative functionary of the Filipino colonizers occupying Malacanang Palace in imposing and dictating their self-vested interests on the beholden 4-province governors and the Muslim populace in the fake autonomous region.

 

In the 1990s, as the dark climate of uncertainties gripped the 'Catholic Filipino nation' due to the nagging Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao, AFP-NDF/NPA war in Luzon, Visayas and Northern Mindanao, rising pervasiveness of endemic corruption in all branches of government, escalating of mass poverty and hunger even in Metro Manila, worsening patronage and warlordism politics and other plaguing societal eye-sores within the country leading to political instability and economic meltdown, the Philippines was transformed into becoming the notoriously ridiculed, 'sick man of Asia.' The Philippine Ramos government tried its level best to improve the sagging image of the country by inviting both the MNLF freedom fighters and NDF/NPA rebels to peace talks. The Ramos regime succeeded with the MNLF in forging the September 22, 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Final Peace Agreements. But also failed to completely implement the agreement except to establish the cosmetic Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), composing of 13-provinces and 8-cities, to supervise per se the zone of peace and development (ZOPAD) in the region without adequate political and financial infrastructure.

 

In reality, the Ramos regime only ensnared MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari to become SPCPD chairman and ARMM governor, which eventually later was abandoned by the MNLF leadership for being merely palliative and artificial as an autonomous self-government to improve the living standards of the suffering oppressed Bangsamoro people under Philippine colonialism.

 

In the beginning 2000s under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who replaced the Philippine Congress-impeached sitting President Joseph E. Estrada, the Arroyo regime maneuvered to hoodwink both the Filipino and Bangsamoro people as well as the global community by discrediting MNLF Chairman Misuari as a failure serving as SPCPD chieftain and ARMM governor. The Arroyo regime created the so-called Moro National Liberation Front--Executive Council (MNLF-EC) group in connivance with Malaysia's intelligence authorities under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to disesteem the MNLF Chairman and further to splinter the MNLF leadership and to divide the Bangsamoro freedom fighters in the ground as well as the Filipino-colonized Bangsamoro people of Mindanao. But as it turned out, the MNLF-EC was exposed and functioned only as 'Malacanang National Liberation Front--Easy Currency' because it was financed and controlled by Malacanang officials, like Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, in conspiracy with the   intelligence group of the Mahathir regime.

 

The Mahathir government and the Arroyo administration wanted MNLF Chair Misuari replaced as MNLF Central Committee chairman, but the plan did not succeed. Nonetheless, cleverly using the Philippine media being the 'mouthpiece of Philippine colonialism', the Arroyo regime did succeed partially in fragmenting the MNLF leadership and confusing the bewildered Bangsamoro people by rewarding the MNLF-EC with the SPCPD chairmanship and ARMM governorship. It appointed Cotabato City Mayor Muslimen Sema as interim SPCPD chair and anointed Dr. Parouk Hussin to become later ARMM governor and as well appointed other MNLF-EC members in government service. Furthermore, in pursuit of their colonial interests, the Arroyo and Mahathir regime utilized the MNLF-EC group to erase the Chairman Misuari-led MNLF as representative and spokesman of the Bangsamoro people in the newly-transformed 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Worse, the Arroyo administration treacherously maneuvered with the help of the Mahathir government in arresting MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari to paralyze him and to silence per se the Bangsamoro freedom struggle, leading to his detention for 5 years under Philippine heavy tight security.

 

However, both Philippine and Malaysian colonialism never did succeed to marginalize and to demoralize the MNLF Chairman because the OIC leadership intervened to plead for his release being a vital component to the peaceful settlement of the Mindanao war that the Islamic Ummah want to be resolved for the sake of peace and development of the Bangsamoro people in the region. Likewise, the clamor and demand for freedom and independence of the oppressed Bangsamoro people from the exploitative Manila government is getting stronger and louder. Thus, Philippine colonialism has to adopt another strategy to show its willingness and accommodation for peaceful harmony and co-existence with the colonized Bangsamoro people whose sagacity and courage to die for their freedom struggle is to prove that they can never be a Filipino because they have their own distinct national identity, cultural, historical and civilization heritage unique and different from the Christian Filipino people.

 

Today, the present Philippine government under President Benigno S. Aquino III has taken quite a bold stride to tone down the popular clamor of the Bangsamoro people for freedom and independence by signing the November 15, 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under Alhaj Murad Ebrahim, who succeeded the martyred and national Bangsamoro hero, Chairman Ustaj Salamat Hashim in 2003. Branding the ARMM as a failed political experiment, the current Philippine Aquino government wanted to replace it with simply 'Bangsamoro' whose government apparatus is to be under the stewardship of the MILF, calling on all sectors of Philippine society, Bangsamoro and global communities to accept and support the political move as it would certainly bring 'just and lasting peace' in war-ravaged Mindanao.

 

Analytically though, the signing of the 2012 MILF-GPH FAB with the conspicuous presence of the third party facilitator, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, has surprisingly raised some heart-searching questions that need crystal clear answers.

 

What is the strategic interest of Malaysian colonialism in solely facilitating the MILF-GPH in Kuala Lumpur leading to the signing of the 2012 FAB? Why is Philippine colonialism under the present Aquino government totally ignoring the full implementation of the 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Final Peace Agreements signed under the Philippine Ramos government? Is the 2012 FAB just another 1978 Tripoli Peace Agreement, 1987 Jeddah Peace Accord and 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP FPA that would only buy more time for the Philippine government to further lengthen the peace process so as to delay the implementation of any signed peace agreements with the Bangsamoro people for the paramount purpose of perpetuating Philippine colonialism in Mindanao?

 

Indeed, if the hidden motive of Philippine colonialism is only to hold lengthy peace talks and casually sign agreements to establish a 'no peace and no war' scenario to maintain the colonial status quo of the Bangsamoro people then this would not at all solve the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao. But instead would invite continuous blood-letting and more humanitarian disaster scenarios for the Filipino-colonized Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

 

Clearly thus, Philippine colonialism is afraid of Bangsamoro freedom because it does not want to be unmasked as an unjust and immoral 'Catholic nation' that nakedly usurped the fundamental human rights of the Muslims and Lumads of Mindanao by robbing them of their pride and humanity as a historical sovereign and free independent Moro Nation (Bangsamoro).

 

FRAMEWORK OF MALAYSIAN COLONIALISM IN OCCUPATION OF NORTH BORNEO (SABAH) THROUGH 'RIGGED REFERENDUM'

Now, what is the colonial interest of Malaysia in the Bangsamoro equation?

 

It is a common knowledge that the federal Malaysian government has until today colonized and occupied North Borneo (Sabah) that historically and rightfully belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (SSNB). This is evidenced by the simple truth that Malaysian colonialism is paying the measly annual rental of $5,000 to the heirs and family successors of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo since the time the British government gave independence to Malaysia in 1957.

 

The strict compliance of the yearly rental anchored on the basis of the historical document that stipulated: 'Grant by the Sultan of Sulu of a Permanent Lease Covering His Lands and Territories on the Island of Borneo dated January 22, 1878.' The historical document was signed between Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo with Gustavos Baron de Overbeck of Hongkong and Alfred Dent, Esquire, of London, who acted as representatives of British Company. Further, the document recorded that 'in consideration of the Lease, the British Company owned and operated by Gustavos Baron de Overbeck and Esquire Alfred Dent were bound by a promise to pay Maulana Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam and his heirs and successors the sum of $5,000 annually, to be paid each and every year starting in 1878.'

 

Thus, taking opportunistic advantage of the historical Lease, when Great Britain granted independence to Malaysia in 1957, the Malaysian government under Prime Minister Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj continued the contested annexation of North Borneo as part of then Federation of Malaysia to exploit the mineral and agricultural riches, including oil and timber, for the development of the other federal territories of Malaysia, particularly Kuala Lumpur, without consultation with the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo being the rightful proprietor. Yet, the stipulation of the Lease Agreement between the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and the British Company clearly partly stated that: 'The above-mentioned territories are from today leased...but the rights and powers hereby leased shall not be transferred to another nation, or a company of other nationality...'

 

However, in the 1960s, to further colonize and occupy North Borneo of the Sultanate of Sulu, the Malaysian federal government conducted a 'rigged referendum' in North Borneo ('Sabah' new name given by Malaysia) with the complicity and participation of prominent Tausug leaders recruited from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. They were conveniently invited to visit 'Sabah' to legitimize the fraudulent referendum and given money to include changing their names in touring the entirety of North Borneo and also the different states of federal Malaysia.

 

Therefore, from the beginning of the immoral occupation of North Borneo by Malaysian colonialism, the strategic interest is to let die in limbo this factual historic issue and to erase totally the SSNB-authorized Philippine claim to North Borneo started by the Philippine Macapagal government in the early 1960s. In truth, the Philippine-Sabah claim emboldened the Marcos regime in the closing 1960s to mount an attempted invasion over Sabah hidden behind 'Operation Merdeka', but was only nipped in the bud when it was exposed by the lone survivor, Jibin Arola, who miraculously escaped the mass murder of his fellow Muslim trainees on the dirty hands of the AFP soldiers in Corrigidor Island, leading to the international expose of the heinous Jabidah Massacre.

 

Thus, to obliterate both the propriety rights of the SSNB and the Philippine-Sabah claim, the Malaysian government have resulted in bribing the Filipino presidents, except President Joseph E. Estrada, to purchase their silence on the controversial issue. Furthermore, to keep in disarray the family heirs and other claimants of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, Malaysian colonialism has perpetrated to divide and confuse them by instigating and financing the proliferation of Sultanate rulers and throne pretenders in competing with each other for false pride and recognition by using and paying Malaysia-based Tausug assets.

 

With regards to the MNLF leadership, although it is common knowledge that the '90 and 300 cadre MNLF officers' were trained by Malaysian soldiers supervised by the 'Special Branch' intelligence group and deceptively helping MNLF in waging its defensive liberation war against the Philippine government from the beginning 1968 up to the year 1996, the Malaysian intelligence group wanted all along to change the MNLF leadership from a Tausug to a Maguindanao or anybody from mainland Mindanao. Malaysian colonialism never wanted a Tausug leading the MNLF because the interest of North Borneo being recovered from Malaysia is always within his heart unlike anybody else from mainland Mindanao. On this note, MNLF Chairman Misuari could not compromise Sabah status to the Malaysian government.

 

Thus, it is not surprising why Malaysia has colluded with the Philippine government to destabilize and demoralize the MNLF Chairman through treacherously arresting him while traveling through Sabah, following only his usual underground routine exit and entry point to reach and leave the islands of Sulu, on his way to Jeddah to report to the OIC leadership on the peace process development, including his abandonment of the ARMM stewardship. The Malaysian colonialism also conspired with Philippine colonialism in creating the 15-member MNLF-EC and finally inviting the MILF leadership to establish a family home-base in Kuala Lumpur while facilitating and financing the MILF-GPH peace talks that led to the signing of the 2012 FAB in Malacanang.

 

In a nutshell, the Malaysian colonizers are totally afraid of Bangsamoro freedom under the MNLF leadership headed by a Tausug like Prof. Misuari because of its treacherous maneuver to preserve at all cost Malaysian colonialism in the former North Borneo territory that the people of Sulu have known as part of their historical Sultanate sovereignty.

 

Hence, the final question in need now of definite answer is, can both Philippine and Malaysian colonialism keep on hiding the biting truth from the world and humanity about the grave injustices they have inflicted on the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan for many years now?

 

Indeed, tragic events have had driven the colonized and oppressed Bangsamoro people to struggle, sacrifice and persevere with only a collective prayer as a weapon to survive the tyranny of foreign colonizers and contemporary Filipino invaders. 

 

Surely, in all their collective prayers from today, they can also pray that the gluttony for economic greed and political power of Philippine and Malaysian colonialism shall surely boomerang upon them one day in the future for heartlessly land-grabbing the ancestral homeland of the Muslim and Highlander natives of Mindanao and Sulu.                                   --osm/mnlfnet.com

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