Mindanao belongs to Filipino people
Antonio J. Montalvan II’s columns in Kris-Crossing Mindanao are enlightening, educational and informative historical essays. His piece titled “Erroneous history in political discourse” (Opinion, 4/10/17) should be required reading for politicians whose limited knowledge miseducates—giving people the impression that Mindanao belongs to a special religious group that occupied the place eons ago.
Mindanao was peopled by the B’laan, Bagobo, Mandaya, Bukidnon, Manobo, T’boli and other tribes long before the coming of seafarers in the 12th century. From the Srivijaya to the Majapahit empire, the thalassocracy regimes were dominated by Hindu and Buddhist leaders.
It was much later that Arab and Muslim traders in the late 15th century became dominant—when the Majapahit ruler converted to Islam. It is acknowledged that the first mosque in Mindanao was built in 1380 on the island of Siminul in Tawi-Tawi. But not all of Mindanao belongs to the Tausug Muslims. Tawi-Tawi is but a small province at the southern tip of Mindanao.
Of the 27 Mindanao provinces, only Lanao del Sur (Marawi City), Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi belong to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Mindanao belongs to the Filipino people. Not to any special tribe or group of religious persuasion.
SAMUEL P. FERNANDEZ, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila
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