Tri-People Concept in Mindanao?

DXUP FM – 105.5 MHz-Upi for Peace – Identity Crisis

The writer “Kaka Ali” wrote:

“In early times, the people of Mindanao Island were divided into groups:
the indigenous peoples who are referred to by Visayan speakers as
“Lumads”, and the “Talainged” or native inhabitants whom the Spaniards
called “Moros”, and the “Rafu” or migrant settlers as the natives
called them”

But this is not precise. In the early times, there were Malays living in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Some were Islamized. They became rulers of political units known as sultanates or rajaships. The non-Muslims were either subjects or vassal or allied datuships. Then came the Spaniards who called the Muslims Moros and the non-Muslim inhabitans naturales. The Moros and naturales of Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan including Borneo and Moluccas fought the Spaniards.

As late as the 1890s, the number of Christianized indios or naturales in Mindanao are so minute. They number less than the foreigners — the Arabs, Indians, Chinese, etc.

The naturales or indios of Luzon and Visayas became abject subjects of the Spanish Crown. They later became Christians and they “colonized” Mindanao and Sulu since the Americans gave them rulership of the Islands during the Philippine Commonwealth.

‘Kaka Ali” further wrote:

Tri-People Concept?

The concept of tri-people in depicting the
peoples of Mindanao — Christians, Muslims, and Lumads — is a dilemma
and a question of identity crisis.

The term Christian refers to those people who adhere to Christianity;

Muslim to those whose religion is Islam, while

Lumad (or sometimes Highlanders, but some dis-agree) refers to the 23 ethno-linguistic tribes no matter what their religion is.

Presently, some of the indigenous tribes have embraced Islam, while others have accepted Christianity.

some of the settlers have accepted Islam as their religion and likewise
a few from the 13 Islamized ethno-linguistic tribes converted to

Now, the dilemma?

Now the dilemma or crisis in identity. Why it is dilemma?
For example,

* What’s the identity of a certain native inhabitant [ for example a, T’duray] who is a Roman Catholic or Episcopalian?
* He/she is called, Highlander?, Lumad? or Christian?
* On the other hand, if he accepts Islam as his religion, should he/she be called Highlander? Lumad? or Muslim?

But this is a false dilemma (tri-lemma?). The indigenous peoples of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan simply do not include the Christianized naturales. The Spaniards failed in their attempts to Christianize natives of MINSUPALA. They brought along with them the converted naturales or indios from Luzon and Visayas to settle in their forts in the Moro regions.

The Yakans and Badjaos are mostly non-Muslims but everyone classify them as Moros. There are many Manobos and Tagakaolos who are either Muslims and Christians. And now, there are so many Christians all over the country who converted to Islam. But they cannot possibly be called Moros. Gov. Leviste and General Dolorfino, for example, may be Muslims but they certainly are NOT Moros.

And who are the Highlanders? Lanao del Sur is an elevated area and properly speaking, the Maranaos are highlanders.

This Tri-People concept is just another “divide-and-conquer” strategy of the Westernized Filipinos. It is the same as what the Anglo-Americans did in Iraq where they divided the people into Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. But the Kurds are also Sunnis. And the Kurds dislike the Sunni Saddam Hussein and his followers. And a majority of the Sunnis are also against the Sunni followers of Saddam. And so on and so forth. This is also the case in Lebanon where the West divided the people into Sunnis, Shias and Christians.

The term LUMAD is an invention of Univ. of the Phil. professors. The term is Visayan and alien to the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of MINSUPALA.

It is important to note that being Christian and Muslim are a matter of faith. Being Moro and indigenous are a matter of culture, history and geography.

“Kaka Ali” then wrote:

In the case of Upi and neighboring municipalities, including Cotabato
City, the T’duray [Highlanders] and R’nawon [T’duray’s word for the
people of the lowland, e.g. Iranun, Maguindanawon, etc.] share a common
ancestry. Tabunaway and Mamalo were brothers by blood, the former as
the forefather of R’naon who accepted Islam, the latter of the T’duray
who chose to remain as it is.

Indeed, the Marananos, Iranuns, Maguindanaos and Tirurays share common ancestors — be they mythical or real. This is clear proof that they are ONE people – the True Indigenous inhabitants of Mindanao.

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