"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Moros and the Indio-Filipinos

Looking at the never ending conflict in Mindanao one really has to wonder if the Moros are indeed different from Filipinos. I had the horror errr honor of a visit from the Bangsa Moro blog asking the Political Jaywalker not to “malign” the Moro people, whatever that means which I quote:
Please stop maligning the moros. We have the rights -- historical, proprietary, cultural and humanitarian -- to Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan and yes, even Sabah.
Citing the difference between the Moros and the Indios (Filipinos) in blinding shouting fashion stressed the obvious resentment towards his own race, to quote:
The Moros and the Indios have TOTALLY DIFFERENT HISTORY, CULTURE AND RELIGION. Indios-Filipinos in Mindanao are mere SQUATTERS there.
Really, and I say our own race because even Mr. Bangsa Moro admits and acknowledge the fact that Moros and Indio-Filipinos are Malays, the only difference and what makes them ‘especial’ could be gleaned on this quote:
The Moros are the only MALAYS not conquered by EUROPEAN COLONIZERS.
To better understand of who and what a Moro is, I decided to pay them a visit and this is what they say:

Perhaps it would also be better to define who the Moros are. Maybe a good definition would be the following:

A Moro is anyone who has at least one parent or two grand parents who are full-blooded Moros.

A full-blooded Moro is one whose parents (father and mother) were born in Mindanao to Muslim parents indigenous to Mindanao.

Exception to this rule are the members of indigenous peoples of Mindanao who are usually referred to as Moros but many of whom are non-Muslims like the Yakans.
While it is true that the Moros were able to defend and preserve their acquired cultural identity and kept their Muslim religion intact, they just like the Indios are converts since Malays are not originally Muslims. Obviously their ancestors and ours I suppose did not land from the moon but from neighboring islands on board a Vinta with the Arabs being first to convert the population to Islam before the Spanish colonizers. The irony of all this is that while this is not a religious conflict but the marginalization of the Filipinos in Mindanao or Moros as they prefer to be called is being turned into an extension of the irrelevant century’s old Moor and Christian conflict of Spain. A centuries old savagery of the Middle Ages that still persist in this day and age is unimaginable and idiotic to say the least, have these people ever heard of progress? 

The undeniable fact is that whether one is a Moro or an Indio, we are one people of the Malay race and other ethnicities, the claim on Indigenous People status is bogus plain and simple. Instead of learning to understand the differences of the 2 different imposed, conversion, and assimilation of cultural and religious heritage in finding strength through diversity as a common ground that propels highly evolved societies we are cutting each others throat literally with others looking forward to cavorting with 72 virgins in the after life. Now that is perverted to say the least and instead of fostering peace and understanding we dwell on the differences which of course will end with annihilation of one or both sides as the worse case scenario while other societies are on the road to enjoying technological progress we are digging our hole deeper into the abyss of poverty.

How exactly do they expect the "Indio-Filipinos" to sympathize with their cause when they give us a glimpse of things to come once they succeed in their separatist goals as seen on this sentiments:
Yet while the ‘peace process’ was going on, the government’s propaganda machine continually picture the MILF as a band of bandits, allied with the Abu Sayyaf, responsible for killings and bombings including beheading 10 Marines. At least twice, Philippine courts issued warrants of arrests for MILF leaders, including the top leadership, as if they were ordinary criminals subject to Philippine laws.
Beheading may be allowed and still persist to exist only with those medieval minded Mujaheedins but this is not the middle ages anymore we are in the new millennium. Criminals on both sides of the conflict should follow the UN conventions on warfare and definitely beheading a captured combatant is a war crime. Worse is when criminals using civilians to cover their cowardly behind to escape and then end up being beheaded once they have eluded pursuing government troops. If they have the audacity to impose and demand their own rules to favor their criminal medieval violent behavior can they blame the people why they are not seen as the beloved "liberators"?

Randy David in his Public Lives column titled Modernity and the Bangsamoro is a worthy read in our attempt to grasp the problem, to quote:
Having said this, however, one has to be blind not to recognize the powerful movement that the leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have nurtured in the heart of Mindanao. They have succeeded in bringing the concept of a Bangsamoro homeland to a higher stage. They speak for the Bangsamoro people because they have shown that they can do so without any significant challenge from anyone. They dare to negotiate because they have proven that they can wage a determined war if they need to. Their quest for a peaceful rectification of what they regard as the erroneous annexation of their homeland into the Philippine republic appears to be supported by the United States, which they believe to be an original party to that historic injustice. We Filipinos must learn to overcome our instinctive refusal to listen, even if the ultimate goal of the MILF is an independent state.

But the MILF too has to realize that this will not bring the people of Mindanao any closer to modernity. Even as they begin to build their own institutional systems as a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, they will likely be faced with the same internal conflicts that are pulling the Filipino nation apart today: class, ethnic, religious, ideological, political, etc. It will not be long before the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of Mindanao will start asserting their historic rights as the “first nations” in that contested landscape, thus launching a new cycle of segmentation.
Exactly, but the bigger question that comes to mind is what exactly is the agenda of the MILF and the GRP? A conflict with the major players having their own insidious agenda of politics, religious and vested interest that may not necessarily reflect the sentiments of the very people affected by the conflict.

Mar Roxas privilege speech says it all and I quote:
The answer is not in further shattering this ideal of one Philippine nation. And this has nothing to do with religion or ethnic boundaries. We are all for peace. I have relatives in Mindanao. I have relatives in Zamboanga. Certainly we want peace. We want peace so that the energies of our people can be directed to improving their status in life.

Which farmer, which fisherman, would rather spend on an armament rather than food for his family? No one wants war. No one certainly wants armed conflict. The people of Mindanao, Christian, Muslim or Lumad, have been commonly victimized by oppression, greed, corruption and the bungling of this government.
I say to you now, as I say to the rest of our nation: the answer is in bridging differences. The answer is in rebuilding our nation so that none feel neglected for the sake of others.

Mabuhay ang kapayapaan. Mabuhay ang nagkakaisang Pilipinas. (Long live peace. Long live a united Philippines.)
How then do we achieve peace under the present dispensatong errr dispensation under a political system that favors the elite and powerful vested interest of the legitimate and illegitimate kind is a challenge that we all face. Balkanization will definitely not help anyone but will only lead us to destruction in a nation where the youth dreams of being anywhere but the Philippines in pursuit of a greener pastures.

Let me end this post by going back to an old entry titled Mindanao Highway of Peace and repost John Lennon’s classic song Imagine (Warning this video is very powerful and emotionally sensitive click Imagine and click top most left column)

By: John Lennon
Imagine there's no heaven,
it's easy if you try,
no hell below us,
above us only sky.
Imagine all the people,
living for today.
Imagine there's no countries,
it isn't hard to do,

nothing to kill or die for,
and no religion too…………
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