The GRP – MILF Peace Agreement — on Ancestral Domain has the Indios – otherwise known as Filipinos — up in arms against their government. They are aghast that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines ((GRP) has agreed to give a few hundred square kilometers of territory to what would be called the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).
But the territory mentioned in that agreement is nothing compared to the Bangsa Moro homeland envisioned in the Tripoli Agreement. In the the Tripoli Agreement, the Homeland is composed of 13 (now 14 since Sarangani was made into a new province) provinces; namely: Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, Palawan and South Cotabato, which included Sarangani and all the cities in those provinces.
In the Final Peace Agreement signed between the GRP and the MNLF in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1996 states that it constitutes “the full implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement in letter and spirit…”
The MILF – GRP agreement therefore adds nothing to the moro territory. Instead, it greatly reduced it by agreeing to have only the present ARMM and a few more villages.
The Bangsa Moro homeland is based on historical rights. The Sultanate of Maguindanao and Sulu and the Rajaship of Buayan were recognized by foreign powers — the British, Spanish and Dutch empires. Even the US had treaties with the Sultanate of Sulu. The Ranao Confederacy (Pat a Pangampung ku Ranaw) was never conquered by the Spaniards. In fact, Spain’s only claim to Mindanao was the establishment of a few forts peopled with a sprinkling of Spaniards and settlements of Indios from the Visayas.
Spain had absolutely no right to cede Moroland to the Americans in the 1898 Treaty of Paris because it had not conquered Moroland.
America realized that fact so it signed the Bates Treaty with the Sulu Sultanate afterwards.
In 1946, America had no right to include Moroland to the Philippines when it granted the Indios independence.
In a bizarre twist of fate, the unconquered Moroland became the colonies of the former subject peoples of Spain and America, the Indios who now call themselves Filipinos.
With laws such as the “Colonization of Mindanao Act”, the Indios promptly colonized Moroland by sending millions of Indios to grab the lands and resources of the indigenous peoples of Moroland.
The 1968 Jabidah Massacre and the series of massacres that followed in the early 1970s woke the Moro people from a long slumber. And so the Moros rose up as a people in the 1970s.
The Tripoli Agreement, the Jakarta Accord and the MILF-GRP MOA are but mere setbacks in the centuries-long struggle of the Moros for Freedom, Islam and Homeland.