Saturday, September 6, 2008



By Erick San Juan

We are bothered no end why Filipinos kill their compatriots over the so-called Bangsamoro ancestral domain, which, in reality, encompasses the entire North Borneo and the Malay Peninsula. Being so, the people who, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) claims they represent, are non-natives and are not entitled to an ancestral domain.

History books, including a photocopy given to me by my favorite historian and big sister, Chitang Nakpil which she got from "The Reading in Philippine History by Horacio de la Costa,historian and a good Jesuit, tell us that only the Aetas deserve an ancestral domain. They are the original Filipinos. In Mindanao, the only remaining real natives are the kinky-haired and thick-lipped Mamanwas of Surigao and and a few other non-Moslem hill-tribes. Most history books suggest that all Filipino Moslems are not truly natives. Most of them are descendants of Arab and Malay migrants who inter-married. In reality, they are descendants of Abu Bakr, an adventurous Arab (Islamic) scholar who, for some reasons, came from the Madjapahit empire; and other migrants from Malaya, who immigrated to Mindanao between 200 and 300 AD. In fact, there was a big wave of Malayan immigrants, who landed on the shores of Mindanao just some 20 years or so ahead of the coming of Spanish conquistadores headed by Fernando de Magallanes.

Safe to say, the Tagalogs, Capampangan, Ilocano, Sugbuanon, Bol-anons, Hilonggo, Bicol and the so-called Lumads of Mindanao, came from the same Malayan stock, but their ancestors came to the Philippines, via the Celebes and South China seas. These migrants inter-married with Chinese traders and later on, with people of the different race, thereby begetting what would later on become the Filipinos.

Moro scholars, including the shrewd and sly leaders of trouble-makers in Mindanao are familiar with these bits of history. It is, in fact, the reason why, in their quest to hoodwink the Filipinos, they are trying to bluff their way into acquiring ancestral domain even in territories that they know are not really theirs. In so many ways, the MILF’s claim of an ancestral domain is just a means of pulling the rug under every peace-loving Filipinos’ feet. They are dragging the Lumads into a conflict they have been sowing in Mindanao - not long ago, but just a few decades hence.

No doubt, the coming days would be very exciting. Amir Ombra Kato and Abdullah Macapaar a.k.a. Commander Bravo are said to be on their way back to Mindanao. They are sailing back through the Philippines’ southern backdoor after cooling their heels in a secret base provided to them by their Malaysian benefactors in Sabah. Reliable sources say these crooked psychopaths, who are known to be among the die-hard fundamentalists among the band of pirates, pillagers and marauders, are coming back with lots of funds, a horde of relatively new armaments, uniforms and other war materials which have striking resemblance with the basic issues of the Malaysia’s military and commando units. Certainly, they are determined to mount a more aggressive semi-conventional struggle for the “secession of Mindanao,” along with Islamic elements whose fingers are crossed that the conflict would evolve into a civil war ala Vietnam in the next few days.

The war that Kato and Bravo will be mounting would be sporadic yet sweeping, bloody and extremely cruel. And if tens of thousands had been killed and unquantifiable miseries have been experienced by legions upon legions of Mindanaonon families in the more than three decades of clashes between government forces and the bandits who conveniently label themselves as mujahideens or freedom fighters, thousands more are bound to get slain and more houses would be torched in the ensuing skirmishes. Hunger and crimes would be the order of the day as deprivations on and by either side is going to be rampant.

Notwithstanding the observance of the Holy month of Ramadan, heavy three-sided clashes between government forces, the blasphemous secessionist guerillas and Christian vigilante groups are expected to erupt in just a few days from today. And if the non-Moslem hill-tribes start pursuing their quest for their own claim for an ancestral domain, we just can’t imagine how riotous the scenario is bound to be.

The government’s recent disclosure of a doubled bounty for any the capture of MILF Commanders Kato, Bravo and Pangalian is viewed more as a veiled invitation to every passive Christian to take part in eliminating the military’s perceived trouble-makers. In fact, several local government units in Mindanao have been purchasing guns to arm their chosen wards in the pretext of defending their villages from the marauding bands. And no less than high-profile local officials are known to be organizing newly formed vigilante squads and reactivating the remnants of the Marcos-era ILAGA, barracuda, Sagrado Corazon Senor (SCS) and other tadtad groups of armed non-Moslems, who believe in their perceived invincibility. What amaze me is the sudden entry of another muslim freedom fighter (kuno),The Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization which according to my "mole" is patterned to the Palestinian Liberation Organization of the late Yasser Arafat. All hell break loose!

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