In his Oct. 17 commentary on the framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Oscar Franklin Tan raised the question of “what happens with the term [Bangsamoro] now that we have the proposed Bangsamoro.”
Actually the framework agreement already defines the Bangsamoro people as “those who at the time of conquest and colonization were considered natives or original inhabitants” of the areas in question.
What is missing is a definition of the term “conquest and colonization.” It is implied that there was only one conquest and colonization, when as a point of historical fact there were several. Apart from the recent “colonization” by settlers from Luzon and the Visayas, there were (counting backwards) the Americans, the Spaniards and the Johorean invaders who conquered the lumads. Historically, these lumads are the only “natives or original inhabitants” with a credible claim to ancestral domain. Everyone else is descended from colonizers.
A fellow commentator of Tan’s has mentioned a centuries-long record of distrust stemming from deception and betrayal, as if it were a one-way street, which it was not; and no one has mentioned slave-raiding. William Henry Scott writes that in one century, 200,000 to 300,000 Christians were enslaved.
Multiply those numbers by three to cover three centuries. Our shorelines, as far as the Ilocos provinces in the north, are dotted with old anti-Moro watchtowers. From these watchtowers, alarms were sounded to warn defenseless civilians of approaching Moro raiders. If the Moros were really so eager to have Christians with them, they should have welcomed the more recent settlers who saved them the trouble of having to transport them on slave vessels to Mindanao. Or did they want only Christian slaves and not Christian freemen?
—BENITO LEGARDA JR., firstname.lastname@example.org
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