Monday, January 09, 2012


December 10, 2011

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

TODAY, December 10, 2011, marks the 113th anniversary of the signing of the
infamous Treaty of Paris between the Spanish and American imperialist governments.
Under such dubious agreement signed by the colonial powers in Paris, France on
December 10, 1898, the territories of the Moro Sultanates in Mindanao and Sulu
Archipelago were treacherously lumped together with the territories of the Spanish-
controlled Las Islas Filipinas which in reality only comprised the islands situated in
Luzon and the Visayas. Hence the territories ruled by the Spaniards and the territories
ruled by the Moros were sold by Spain to the United States for a sum of 20 million
dollars. As a consequence of the cession treaty, the Moros and their territories became
subjects of the United States. Of course, the cession of the Moro territories was “unjust,
illegal and immoral” for it lacked the plebiscitary consent of the Moro people on
whether they wanted to join the new entity called The Philippine Islands.

 The American occupation forces never had the chance of sleeping in peace while
colonizing the Moros. Granting in arguendo that some Moro leaders, in between the
signing of the Kiram-Bates Treaty of August 20, 1899 up to the creation of the Philippine
Commonwealth in 1935, allowed themselves to live under the shade of the American
flag, the Moros in general, valiantly fought to death the Americans and their occupation
forces composed of Americans and Filipino Constabulary troopers. Hence it cannot be
generalized that the Moros were totally subjugated; they were just colonized but never
been completely subjugated.

 While the Moro leaders were partially militarily crippled by their invading
American enemies aided by their Indios-turned-Filipino oppressors, they did not give
up their fight for freedom and independence for the sake of the next generations of the
Moros, to include the present generation. As evidence, the Moros in the February 1,
1924 Declaration of Rights and Purposes Addressed to the Congress of the United
States of America, gave the American invaders several peaceful solutions by way of
plebiscite to resolve the Moro Problem:

“In order that we may be fair to Filipinos and in order that they may not raise
an outcry to the effect that we wish to dismember the Philippine Islands, we
propose that fifty (50) years after independence may have been granted the rest
of the Philippine Islands, a plebiscite be held in the proposed unorganized
territory to decide by vote whether the proposed territory will be incorporated in

the government of the Islands of Luzon and Visayas, remain a territory, or
become independent.”

On that same Declaration, the Moro leaders had demonstrated their unity: “IT IS
AS THE MORO NATION.” By saying so, the Moro leaders united themselves as “the
Moro Nation” which became “Bangsa Moro” and later “Bangsamoro”. The leaders of
the Moro Nation spoke in unison, resounding voice against their handing over to the
Filipinos in a future republic which became the “Republic of the Philippines” in 1946.

Even before and after the creation of the Philippine Commonwealth by virtue of
the Tydings-McDuffie Law of 1934, the Moros registered their strong opposition against
their inclusion in a future Philippine republic as manifested in the signing of the several
Dansalan Declarations in 1934 and 1935. In one of those famous declarations, the Moros
prophesized an unending “unrest, suffering and misery” between the Moros and
Filipinos, hence, they asked for the separation of Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago from
an independent Philippines, and prayed further that if the US couldn’t grant their
request, then “we must pray that Lanao should be melted so that we will be forever and
entirely eradicated.” But the Americans did not heed the Moro petitions and proceeded
to grant one independent state for the Filipinos without provisions for the future
political status of the oppressed Bangsamoro people.

Yet, the Moros also fought bloodily for their rights to remain free from Philippine
colonialism as epitomized by Maas Kamlun in the 1950s, Hadjal Uh in the 1960s, and
several other community-based uprisings against the neo-colonial invaders: the
Filipinos. Then came the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM), Bangsa Moro
Liberation Organization (BMLO), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and recently the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Movement (BIFM). These armed organizations were determined, in one way or another,
or by any means possible, to achieve freedom and independence for the aggrieved
Bangsamoro people. The MIM and BMLO died a natural death owing to various
reasons. The MNLF still fights for a “Bangsamoro Autonomous Government.” The
MILF is now pursuing a “Bangsamoro Sub-State.” The BIFM has not concretely defined
its objective except that it does not believe in peace negotiations as a way of achieving
an independent Islamic State.

The legal panel meetings between the Philippine government and the MNLF are
achieving empty promises of GPH-MNLF “partnership.” The “endless, winding, and
directionless Peace Negotiations” (as the Mindanao Alliance for Peace has so coined it)
between the Philippine government and the MILF are also going nowhere for the
government has no concrete formula to finally put honorable closure to the centuries-
old Moro people’s struggle for their right to self-determination, freedom and independence. It seems though that the MILF has already abandoned the struggle for independence when the head of its negotiating team, Mr. Mohagher Iqbal, has officially announced at Kuala Lumpur on March 3, 2010 that:

 “We have declared time and again that the MILF will no longer
pursue independence as solution to the Bangsamoro problem in favor of
an asymmetrical arrangement of a “state-and-substate” arrangement”

The MNLF has been twice duped by the Philippine government: first in the
Tripoli Agreement of December 23, 1976 through its Paragraph 16, and second, in the
Final Peace Agreement of September 2, 1996 under its Item 153 by recognizing the
Philippine Constitution as final arbiter of any disagreement in the implementation of
said agreements.

And now the Philippine government is also trying to hoodwink the MILF by
stating in its 2010 Draft Peace Agreement the recognition by the MILF of “autonomy”
and “Philippine Constitution” thus the very first statement of the draft agreement
states: “Recognizing that the Philippines is a nation of ethnic and cultural diversity,
where people can claim autonomy within the framework of national sovereignty and
territorial integrity, as expressed in the 1987 constitution.” Such statement was refined
PEACE ACCORD”) or more popularly known as the “Three for One Formula” by
rephrasing it to read as: “This Agreement recognizes that the Republic of the
Philippines is composed of communities with diverse ethnic and cultural traditions,
where citizens can claim autonomy and self-governance within the framework of
national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Worse, both statements have been so
elaborated in the DRAFT ACCORD as follows:

This Agreement considers the following key documents in its
interpretation and implementation: a…..; b…..; c….. and d. the Constitution and
laws, whenever appropriate, such as Republic Act No. 6734, as amended by
Republic Act No. 9054 and Republic Act No. 9333, as amended by Republic Act
No. 10153; Republic Act No. 8371; and Republic Act No. 7160.

It is not the intention of the Parties to derogate upon prior agreements
nor the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

If it is true that the MILF “have declared time and again that the MILF will no
longer pursue independence as solution to the Bangsamoro problem,” then this is a
looming dilemma. This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the February 1, 1924
Declaration of Rights and Purposes Addressed to the Congress of the United States of
America, and all of the Dansalan Declarations. Such statement also runs counter and
diametrically opposed to all of the bay’ahs or solemn pledges or oath by the MILF
mujahideeen: “to make supreme the Word of Allah, and to work for the establishment
of an Islamic government until victory or martyrdom is finally achieved, insha’ Allah.”
The Bangsamoro people respectfully request the MILF leadership to affirm if the above-
quoted statement of Mr. Mohagher Iqbal reflects the official position of the MILF
Central Committee.

As a reminder, the then MILF Chairman Ustaz Salamat Hashim (may Allah be
pleased with him) once stated to the Crescent International (August 16-31, 1994) that “any
solution less than full independence of the Bangsamoro Muslims will not work” on the
ground that: Past experience since the beginning of the annexation of the Bangsamoro homeland
to the Philippines in 1935 have proved that the Muslims could not live a normal life
under a corrupt, secular government and that the two peoples, the Bangsamoros and the
Filipinos, could not get along with each other because of their distinct religions, cultures,
customs, and traditions. Besides, we believe that it will be for the best interests of the
Bangsamoros and the Filipinos if both were free.

Chairman Salamat Hashim reiterated such statement in 1999 by telling the
Crescent International that: “The MILF would never agree to any solution other than the
full independence of the Bangsamoro homeland” (Crescent International, March 16-31,

By all indications, it can be said that the MNLF has miserably failed in achieving
both the “Bangsamoro Republik” as dreamed of under the April 28, 1974 Manifesto for the
Establishment of the Bangsamoro Republik and the “Autonomy for the Muslims in the
South of the Philippines” envisioned under the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996
Final Peace Agreement even after ruling the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM) for eight years from September 1996 up to September 2004 during the
administrations of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and MNLF Foreign Affairs chief Dr.
Parouk Hussin. The “Bangsamoro Autonomous Government” is also losing ground and
supporters due to the past failure of MNLF to govern the ARMM. The envisioned
Republic of Sulu and Sabah also failed to take off.

While not losing the all-out wars of 2000, 2003 and 2008, the MILF may have lost
the intellectual struggle to establish the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) when the all-
Christian Philippine Supreme Court declared the GRP-MILF Memorandum of
Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) as “CONTRARY TO LAW AND THE
CONSTITUTION” (568 SCRA 402). And we fear now that the MILF will lose the
envisioned “Bangsamoro Sub-State” if the Philippine government will drag the
negotiations through its misleading “Three for One Formula” and thereafter pass its
fate, and the fate of the peace process, to the next administration.

The civil society organizations, non-government organizations and people’s
organizations in Mindanao and the Philippines in general could also not provide
concrete, written alternative, if any, that could be regarded as “working draft” in
reformulating the MILF’s draft Comprehensive Compact and the Philippine
government’s draft “2011 GPH-MILF PEACE ACCORD”. Neither the International
Contact Group (ICG) has clearly done so. All that the CSOs are doing is to “ride on” the
issue of Sub-State for organizational, not necessarily personal, gains.

In view of the foregoing, the oppressed Bangsamoro people declare:

1. That the MNLF and MILF must reconsider and seriously rethink their
aspirations for “Autonomy” and “Sub-State” in favor of an
INDEPENDENT BANGSAMORO STATE taking into consideration
the previous written aspirations and declarations issued by the
Bangsamoro leaders and peoples as contained in (a) the February 1,
1924 Declaration of Rights and Purposes Addressed to the Congress of
the United States of America, and (b) Dansalan Declarations of March
26, 1934, May 15, 1934, May 16, 1934, July 13, 1934, and March 18, 1935,
calling for the granting by the US government of a separate
independent State for the Moros once the Filipinos were granted their

2. That the US government, the United Nations through the Secretary-
General, and the European Union must be seriously considered by
warring parties, i.e. the Philippine government, MNLF and MILF, as
“honest brokers” or “mediators” of the peace process taking into
consideration that the Moro Problem and the protracted war in the
Bangsamoro homeland were creations of the US government when it
signed the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris. Admittedly, major
powers in the world, as well as the United Nations, are strong brokers
of peace processes as how they have performed in the resolution of
sovereignty-based conflicts in Northern Ireland, East Timor, Kosovo,
Aceh, Bougainville, and South Sudan.

Eminent statesmen and powerful leaders are largely responsible as
mediators in forging peace agreements all over the world. Prime
Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, President Bill
Clinton of the US, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom,
and President Maarti Ahtisaari of Finland can make a difference and
great accomplishment in the resolution of the Moro Problem if anyone
of them is the “mediator” of the GPH-MILF peace negotiations, of
course with the full backing and sanctions of the UN, EU and the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). A strong mediator can
produce a highly respected peace agreement.

3. That it is high time that the US and Spanish governments re-negotiate
in its entirety the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris so as to rectify the
great mistake in including the independent territories of the Moro
sultanates of Mindanao and Sulu in the delimitation of the territories
ceded by Spain to the US.

4. That the GPH-MILF peace negotiations and GPH-MNLF legal panel
meetings must set shorter and more definitive time-frames (just six
months for the Aceh-Government of Indonesia to complete the peace
process and seal the conflict which also started in contemporaneous
with the Moro Question in the 1500s!). Fourteen years of peace
negotiations is too lengthy a time-frame. If President Maarti Ahtisaari
did it for six months, then Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir can also
do it for six months starting January 2012, insha’ Allah! Prolonged
negotiations only produce negotiation fatigue and a state of “no war
no peace” which is disadvantageous on the part of the Bangsamoro

5. That the mass movements of the Bangsamoro and Filipino peoples, to
include the Bangsamoro People’s Consultative Assembly (BPCA), the
Mindanao Alliance for Peace (MAP), the Mindanao People’s Peace
Movement (MPPM), the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC), the
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), and all other Moro
mass movements must join ranks to seek the assistance of the good
offices of the UN, US government, EU and OIC in resolving the Moro
Question by way of a UN-supervised/administered referendum in lieu
of the current protracted and endless peace negotiations.

We must openly admit that the Philippine government is just
fooling around the MILF at the negotiating table by way of delaying
tactics while at the same time pouring in thousands of its Armed
Forces in and around the well acknowledged MILF camps all over the
Bangsamoro homeland and strategic coastal areas with the technical
and military assistance of the US Armed Forces and the Australian
Defense establishment. Such massive deployment of colonial troops
sends a strong message that it is determined to crush the MILF and the
MNLF under the pretext of seeking “all-out justice.”

6. That the Bangsamoro people respectfully wish to remind the
leadership of the BPCA, to include Prof. Abhoud Syed M. Lingga who
has become a Member of the MILF Peace Panel, of the BPCA’s
Resolutions issued during its first gathering on December 3-5, 1996 in
Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, stating that “the only just, viable and

lasting solution to the Bangsamoro problem is the establishment of
an independent Bangsamoro state and government,” and during its
second assembly in the same area on June 1-3, 2001:

1. That the only just, meaningful, and permanent solution to the
Mindanao Problem is the complete independence of the Bangsamoro
people and the territories they now actually occupy from the Republic
of the Philippines.

2. That pursuant to this declaration of Bangsamoro independence
and in the spirit of justice and human brotherhood, we also extend
recognition and support to the same right to self-determination of the
indigenous highland tribal community and the Christian settler
peoples of Mindanao if and when they so opt to exercise this right.

3. That in view of the forthcoming peace negotiation between the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines, we are giving our full support and mandate to the
MILF to represent us in the said negotiation, as well as in the
Organization of Islamic Conference and the United Nations;
provided, however, that the MILF does not deviate from our demand
for complete independence and accept a compromise formula sort of
this aforesaid demand. Should the MILF choose to deviate, these
support and mandate are deemed automatically rescinded and
withdrawn, and we shall pursue the struggle through any means
open to us until Allah, the Most High, has given us the victory or
granted us the honor of martyrdom.

We would like to be clarified of the official position of BPCA regarding
its two resolutions calling for “complete independence” and the
mandate it has given to the MILF to negotiate for “complete
independence” vis-à-vis Mr. Mohagher Iqbal’s statement “that the
MILF will no longer pursue independence as solution to the
Bangsamoro problem in favor of an asymmetrical arrangement of a
“state-and-substate” arrangement.”

7. That the Bangsamoro people seriously forewarn the MILF leadership
and its Peace Panel NOT TO SIGN any agreement that would
deliberately foreclose the aspirations for freedom and independence
and the legitimate rights of the Bangsamoro people for self-
determination without provisions for the determination of their future
political status, and especially NOT TO SIGN an accord that would

“Nothing in this agreement shall be construed as implying in any
form or manner that the intent of the Parties to allow a present or

future political status separate from that of the national territory and
sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The Bangsamoro people also caution the MILF leadership and its Peace
Panel NOT TO SIGN any compact that would provide for the
demobilization and disarmament of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed
Forces (BIAF) as this armed wing is among the potent forces that make
the Philippine government and whole world respect the MILF and the
Bangsamoro people. Once demobilized and disarmed, the MILF and
the Bangsamoro people are NOTHING as how the Philippine colonial
government currently treats the MNLF, its leadership and followers.

8. That the Terms of Reference of the International Monitoring Team
(IMT) must be fully enforced and respected by everybody taking into
account that local government officials like the City Mayor of
Zamboanga and the Provincial Governor of Zamboanga Sibugay do
not give the IMT the freedom of coordinated movement necessary to
perform its duties as mandated. If the Philippine government cannot
even enforce the ToR of the IMT, then there is no cogent argument
why it can enforce any future peace pact with the MILF.

9. That it is for the best interest of the Bangsamoro people to explore
other alternatives to complement and further enhance the Bangsamoro
Sub-State proposition, such as: a) Judge Soliman M. Santos’ Bangsamoro
Islamic Region and Bangsamoro Self-governing Region; b) UP Professor
Dr. Samuel K. Tan’s Federated Islamic States of Southern Philippines; and
c) complete independence from the Republic of the Philippines.

WE FINALLY CALL UPON all able bodied Bangsamoro people to stand firm in
defending their rights to self-determination and strengthen their preparation to pursue
the Jihad fi sabeelillah and the struggle for the liberation of our people from Philippine
colonial rule in every available means and manner allowed under the tenets of Islam
and International Law, insha’ Allah.


Down with Philippine colonialism over the Bangsamoro Homeland!

Long live the Bangsamoro Jihad fi Sabilillah!

Long live the Bangsamoro struggle for freedom and independence!

Victory or Martyrdom!


Wassalamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

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