Williams 2009 Retrospect & Prospect in Magi Leadership


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Four aspects of Magindanawn sultanate polity vis-a-vis the Philippine national polity.

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Williams 2009 Retrospect & Prospect in Magi Leadership

  1. 1. 1http://kyotoreviewsea.org/KCMS/?p=81&lang=enWilliams 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010.Posted on December 13 2009 by admin     Retrospect and Prospect of Magindanawn Leadership inCentral Mindanao: Four Vantage PointsMark S. Williams In the southern Philippines, the territory containing the influence of theMagindanao Sultanate was extensive. So expansive was this territory that the Spaniardsnamed the entire southern island “Mindanao” in their honor (McKenna 1998, 27).Through alliances, expertise and prowess in military affairs and economic practice, theMagindanawn not only held their own against Spanish advances, but they also flourishedalong with many other Southeast Asian Islamic sultanates. This has been no less true in their establishment of social leadership and theirpractice of governance – before, during and after the imperial onslaught of Spain fornearly 400 years. When the United States acquired this Southeast Asian archipelagofrom Spain by purchase at the turn of the twentieth century, Magindanawn leadership andgovernance statutes did not truly change, although they certainly adapted in order tosurvive the colonial impositions of the American period. This study examines fourvantage points under which Magindanawn leadership adapted and how it continues toadapt to the present day.First Vantage Point: Magindanawn Royal Bloodline Leadership On the basis of genealogical records called tarsila, the record of SharifKabungsuwan tracing his Malay nobility back to the bloodline of the Prophet Muhammadwas established (Saleeby 1976). Both the upriver laya (Buayan) and the downriver ilud Mark S. Williams is Ph.D. (ABD) in Development Studies from the Ateneo de Davao University in DavaoCity, Philippines. Working with a non-government organization (NGO) as a development anthropologist inconflict-affected areas of Mindanao (CAAM) during the decade of the 1990s, Mr. Williams’ interests in theMagindanawn Muslims of Central Mindanao builds directly into his dissertation research.
  2. 2. 2(Magindanao) sultanates found legitimacy in claims to this royal bloodline. At differenttimes in the life of each sultanate, greatness exuded from such claims. In the seventeenth century, the apex of the Magindanao Sultanate was reachedunder the leadership of the redoubtable Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Qudarat (Saleeby1974, 189; et al). The legacy of Qudarat’s sultanate would be a structure that would rivaland compete with the existing sultanates of Sulu, Brunei, and Ternate (Laarhoven 1989,36ff, esp. p. 40). [U]nder the seventeeth-century sultan Kachil Kudrat, the divided Magindanao communities – those belonging to sa-ilud (lower valley and coastal area), of which Cotabato town was the known capital, and those in sa-raya (upper valley), of which Dulawan was the capital – were unified, leading to the establishment of the first centralized Magindanao sultanate…. (Abinales 2000, 47; italics in original)Recounted in historical (Majul 1999, and Ileto 2007, 10-12) and folklore (Kilates 1993,4-12) accounts, the legacy of leadership under Qudarat left an indelible mark on theMagindanao Sultanate and those under its tutelage. More than two hundred years later would come the zenith of the Buayan Sultanateunder “Sultan Anwar ud-Din Utto” (Majul 1999, 31), known more commonly as DatuUtto. While upriver / downriver division led to constant internal dissension over themany years, on the strength of ‘the descent principle,’ Utto sought to re-establish theunified sultanate again: In the Pulangi, many of these sub-sultanates pledged loyalty to the Sultan of Buayan, Sultan Marajanuddin, who was in turn succeeded in 1865 by his brother, Sultan Bayao of Kudarangan. In 1875, Datu Utto or Sultan Anwaruddin Utto, son of Sultan Marajanuddin, took over as Sultan of Buayan…. [He] also maneuvered to be declared jointly as Sultan of Maguindanao…. But the Spaniards opposed his inclination vehemently. They saw in Datu Utto the making of a “second Qudarat.” Datu Utto was able to unite the minor sultanates along the Pulangi, including those of Talayan, Buluan and Kabuntalan. (Jubair 1999, 52; italics in original) For nearly thirty years (Ileto 2007), Utto’s leadership would withstand penetrationfrom either inside or outside attackers. Before the end of the nineteeth century, however,Spain would drive a wedge between warring factions of ilud and laya Magindanawn.This is because “…Spain could scarcely have defeated Utu without Magindanao[sultanate] help. She needed not only additional manpower, but local knowledge,particularly of how to win over Utu’s restive supporters” (Beckett 1982, 399). Onecontributing factor to the ability to divide-and-conquer the Magindanawn was related totheir concept of maratabat. 1. Maratabat As a social mechanism to uphold bloodline nobility and enforce a class-basedhierarchy, “among the Magindanaon, ‘maratabat’ primarily connotes rank andsecondarily the honor due to rank. Maratabat is the quantifiable essence of status rankand is measured most commonly as a monetary valuation…” (McKenna 1998, 51).“[B]y taking into account the status of the mother as well as the father, it was possible tomake fine distinctions of maratabat” (Beckett 1982, 397; italics in original).
  3. 3. 3 For many royal-blood families, the preferred status was known as pulna: “[Pulnais] a social status designation for those individuals able to trace direct descent throughboth parents from Sarip Kabungsuwan…” (McKenna 1998, 338). Since from the earlyyears, “sultans, ideally, were distinguished by their pulna status…” (Ibid., 53; italics inoriginal), it was thought that, in order to attain this level of nobility, the similar means ofarranged marriage to high-ranking women was required to gain the desired goal. Thiswas very important to all families claiming royal-blood since “…a man withoutmaratabat is nobody; or a man who loses his maratabat becomes very, very small…”(McAmis 2002, 61; italics in original). Because maratabat is related to a “quantifiable essence” of “monetary valuation,”it is sometimes used to make payment in order to avert a blood feud (McKenna 1998, 51;cf. Stewart 1977, 282). Such family-feuding has been endemic to the history of theMagindanawn and nowadays contributes to the phenomenon of pagkontla, called rido(especially by the Maranao) in recent literature. In short, “rido refers to state of recurringhostilities between families and kinship groups characterized by a series of retaliatoryacts of violence carried out to avenge a perceived affront or injustice” (Torres III 2007,12; italics in original). Specifically, an affront to maratabat as a cause for rido may range from unintended verbal insult, perceived disrespect, slight injury, and even accident. The assessment of whether or not maratabat was offended lies entirely on the evaluation of the presumably aggrieved individual, his family or kinsmen. (Matuan 2007, 80; italics in original).Because maratabat is such a personal thing for royal-blood families of the Maranao andMagindanawn, it is difficult to know how this will factor into current and futuredevelopment initiatives given the effect it has had on Magindanawn society in the past. 2. Whither Royal-Blood Leadership? Despite the in-fighting between ilud and laya Magindanawn, the ideal of whatbloodline leadership embodies has never truly waned. The system of datuship has long kept the Muslims united and spiritually bound together. So deeply ingrained into the fabric of Muslim life is this institution that the faith and loyalty of the Muslims have withstood the severe vicissitudes of time and change. Down to this day, many of them still hold the datus in characteristic religious awe and adulation. (Alunan Glang, quoted in McKenna 1998, 134)Nearly 35 years after the pronouncement of martial law, therefore, these ideals of royalbloodline leadership – and the corollary concept of maratabat to uphold the honor andthe territory of the Magindanawn – continue to dominate and challenge the social,economic, and political situation in Central Mindanao.Second Vantage Point: Magindanawn Accommodation to the Philippine State The issue of state-sanctioned leadership was never addressed while Spain was inconflict with the Magindanawn up to the end of the nineteenth century. Under imperialsanction of the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, “Moroland” (as that part
  4. 4. 4of Muslim Mindanao came to be known) went from one pole of the promise of autonomyand/or secession via the Bates Treaty to the other of being ushered into ‘propercivilization,’ as well as preparation to be ‘integrated’ with Luzon and the Visayas by thetime of the First World War (Gowing 1983). Fast-forwarding through the Philippine Commonwealth period of the 1930s,World War II, and the establishment of the Philippine Republic after being grantedindependence in 1946, issues surrounding the dialectic of autonomy-versus-integrationinvolved the historic tension between Magindanawn and foreign expatriates as well asreligious polarization between the longer-resident Filipino Muslims and their ChristianFilipino counterparts. The Christianized and Islamized peoples of the Philippines are like these two equatorial points. Theologically, we can find unity by rising up to the North Pole of a Semitic divinity through the line of patriarchs and prophets beginning from Christ and Mohammad…. [W]e can also turn our eyes to the South Pole through anthropology, there to find an Asiatic humanity that links the Indonesians, the Malays, and the Filipinos in a common ethnic foundation. (Casiño 1988, 36-37)Accommodation to state-sanction should have little to do with religious concerns, at leastin the separation-of-church-and-state mentality of the Americans who instilled such avalue into the burgeoning center of Philippine national government in Manila. Indeed, considering the religious rhetoric of Magindanawn leaders today, it isinteresting to note how one young Magindanawn leader was virtually ‘co-opted’ intostate-sanctioned leadership more than fifty years ago. That man was Salipada Pendatun. In 1957, Pendatun won the congressional seat for Cotabato, attributing his victory to the restoration of harmony between settlers and Magindanaos…. This was not the complete story. Pendatun won because he did not rely solely on his provincial base, but was backed by the Nacionalista leadership and by the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan Association (MINSUPALA), a bloc of Mindanao political leaders whose purpose was to “get concessions from both the ruling party and the Nacionalista administration of Carlos Garcia” (Mindanao Times, 26 March 1960…). Amidst growing religious tension, calls to defend and preserve the “Muslim community” began to be heard in the political arena…. Pendatun helped transform the Muslim Association of the Philippines (MAP) into a bloc to fight for “Muslim interests” within MINSUPALA. (Abinales 2000, 141,142) The remarkable thing about Pendatun, and other Magindanawn who were beingled into political power via this route of state-sanction, was his ability to ‘tow both lines’– the lines between traditional bloodline legitimacy claims and this new state-sanctionedlegitimacy for Magindanawn leadership. Datu Pendutun’s early career was one of the most successful of any of the second- generation colonial datus. He is representative, however, of a number of other Philippine Muslim political figures of his generation…. By the founding of the Philippine republic in 1946 they were politically well established with ties to the apparatus of national rule in Manila and able to command local allegiance on the basis of traditional social relations. (McKenna 1998, 112)
  5. 5. 5 1. A Veritable Vacuum Between Legitimacy Claims The fact that the state-sanctioned option for leadership had been offered andaccepted by select Magindanawn began to cause an unraveling in the whole fabric oflegitimacy by bloodline alone. Other pressures that created a virtual wedge wereemotional and ideological, e.g., the Jabidah Massacre of the late 1960s (Vitug & Gloria2000, 2-23). This led directly to the creation by a Magindanawn datu, Udtog Matalam, ofthe Muslim Independence Movement (MIM) in 1968 (Stewart 1977; Che Man 1990;McKenna 1998). (More on Ideological motivations below) The aggression, tension and war that would ensue between Manila and CentralMindanao – especially during the 1970s, and then dormant on through the 1980s andearly-1990s – would lead eventually to a different form of state-sanction in theestablishment of RA 6743: the 1989 Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in MuslimMindanao (Gaspar et al. 2001, 44; Tanggol 1998b, 672). While this seemed toencapsulate all that both sides were looking for, some Magindanawn would still wonderif this was working for a better Islamic situation in Muslim Mindanao or was itsurreptitiously co-opting them? 2. Effective Control from Manila A case-in-point involves the nepotism and favoritism apparent under eachsuccessive Governor for the ARMM. When it was Candao, Magindanawn benefited;when it was Misuari, the Tausugs benefited. There was a shorter-lived tenure by aMaranao Governor and, to be sure, the Maranao geographic areas and interests benefitedmore under him. Now that it is Datu Puti Ampatuan, the Magindanawn are once againreaping more benefits from the structure and programs of the ARMM. Generallyspeaking, some grassroots Magindanawn have become disappointed because, rather thanreflecting the power and integrity of the sultanates of old, the Magindanawn Governors(and the extended families they represent) have used the offices of the ARMM for theirown purposes. Such has been the tendency in this ‘carrot’ being offered from Manila toCentral Mindanao.Third and Fourth Vantage Points: Magindanawn Ideological and Civil SocietyResponses The spirit of an ideological movement from within the ranks of the Magindanawnhad been coalescing for hundreds of years, whereas the type of non-violent response,which is termed civil-society today, is a more recent creation. 1. Dialectic Catalyst for Ideological Response Salah Jubair (1999), a Magindanawn, has chronicled how all Filipino Muslimpeople groups are considered as one “distinct nationhood” (Lingga 2004a, 2) calledbangsamoro. The aggression, conflict, and war, incited upon the Filipino Muslims by theSpanish, especially from the time of 1600 to 1860 (Rasul 2003, 38-39), was the primary
  6. 6. 6catalyst for the ideological polarization that led to the realization and creation of thebangsamoro ideal. Whereas popular (textbook) history has dismissed any ideologicalmovements that countered the Philippine national goal of integration in the past, theadvent of voices from the opposition are now being given audience. These are, however,voices that have not always been popular in the general Filipino imagination: When [a bangsamoro ideologue]…talks of a nation, foremost in his mind is the ordeal the Moro people went through during the centuries of the Spanish conquest, decades of American so-called tutelage, and now nearly a century of the Indios’ [i.e., non-Muslim Filipinos] scheming and manipulation, which resulted in the destruction and mutilation of their homeland. (Jubair 1999, xii) Since autonomy or independence for Muslim Mindanao was never an optionwhile Spain was in colonial control, rhetoric and action for those ideals became morevocal during the American protectorate period – from the end of the Spanish AmericanWar in 1898 to the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935. When it wasapparent that autonomy or independence would not be forthcoming under the PhilippineCommonwealth, pockets of “armed resistance” formed, “…ranging from full-scalebattles to minor incidents…. [These] were motivated by the presence of the Americansand Filipino Christians who were considered a threat to the position of Islam and theinterests of the Muslims” (Che Man 1990, 56). This, then, was the inception of amovement with ideological goals and motivation. While most Filipino Muslims wouldjoin the war effort against Japanese occupation during World War II (Ibid.), this hopefulinstance of ‘brotherhood and unity with other Filipinos’ waned quickly when the warended. Since that time, Muslims and non-Muslims have become more polarized. Despite promises made from the United States to Mindanao Muslims via theBates Treaty and other government edicts, and despite the Filipino Muslim viewpointthat bangsamoro was always to be distinct from other Filipino peoples, it becameapparent early on into the American administration of Mindanao that the interests of theWest would best be served if the archipelago of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao were‘integrated’ together under one national banner as the Philippines. The essence of whatManila – and America – wanted in this regard is as follows: The basic policy of the Philippine Government with regard to all of its cultural minorities, including the 2.2 million Moros [at that time], reflects the attitude of the Christian majority population of the Republic: the minorities should be integrated into the mainstream of Philippine national life, culturally, politically, economically, and in every other way. This attitude and policy spring from three sources: 1) from the Spanish ambition to Christianize and hispanize all of the people of the Archipelago; 2) from the American view that the “wild tribes” in the Philippines should be brought to the same level of “civilization” as the lowland Christian Filipinos; and 3) from a corresponding Filipino nationalist view that all Filipinos are basically one people…. (Gowing 1979, 208; italics in original) 2. Galvanizing Events for Ideological Awareness While the Manila central government quietly went about instituting the American-spawned integration policies, Central Mindanao contended with: 1) migrations of non-Muslim Filipinos from Luzon and the Visayas up through the Philippine Commonwealthyears; 2) Japanese incursions during World War II; and 3) state-sanctioned enticing of
  7. 7. 7promising young Magindanawn into national government service. All the while, theroyal bloodline leadership only paid lip-service to national government ideals and designsfor Central Mindanao. That mutual understanding unraveled after the terrible incident ofthe Jabidah Massacre on Corregidor Island. As mentioned above, Governor Matalamformed the MIM and a little-known Tausug student-cum-professor at the University ofthe Philippines, Nur Misuari, was about to found the first politicized bangsamoro rebelmovement: the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Once this consciousness had galvanized into a forward-progressing movement,the MNLF began to garner support and resources from outside of Mindanao, i.e., Libya,as well as from MINSUPALA (Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan) interests. Not only did theMIM (and therefore the MNLF) receive young recruits “from Malaysia to Cotabato,” butalso Datu Udtog Matalam himself had pledged resources “to finance arms purchases”(McKenna 1998, 149). Though this is true especially for the 1970s, when hostilitieserupted again in the mid- to late-1990s, similar resources and mobilization practices werestill in place. Fast-forwarding to the time when the MNLF laid down their arms and co-optedinto the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the 1996 agreement, the MILF didno such thing; rather, they escalated the tension with a renewed sense of championing thebangsamoro cause. Their camps in Buldon and Pikit were accepting and trainingrecruits in large numbers throughout the last half of the 1990s, leading up to PresidentEstrada’s pronouncement of an “All-Out War” (Gaspar et al. 2001, 59f). The war wasintense and devastating for many Magindanao regions of Central Mindanao and, since theceasing of this war effort in 2000, there have still been sporadic skirmishes in areas suchas Pikit and Talayan for four years hence. In 2004, therefore, a report about the strengthand transitory nature of MILF recruits was published: Based on reports from field commanders, Adan estimated that there are now more than 4,000 new recruits in the MILF, which has an estimated strength of 10,000. "The presence of military camps of MILF training recruits in explosive-making, demolition and ‘jihad tactics’ are violations of trust and confidence-building. They are talking peace but preparing for war and, certainly, this is not for any peace-building," Adan said. "We are supportive of the peace process of the government. We hope these things will work. But words must be backed by actions and the ceasefire agreement is premised on trust and confidence. But if they (MILF) are preparing for war, this runs counter to the peace process." Adan said the IMT [International Monitoring Team] is unlikely to find any MILF training camps because they are constantly being moved to avoid detection. The military is currently searching for terrorist training camps run by al-Qaeda’s regional arm, Jemaah Islamiyah, which was linked to the MILF in the past. (Villanueva 2004, 2-3).Especially because of links to al-Qaeda, resources were thought to be inexhaustible,while mobilizing recruits occurred either voluntarily or by conscription. a. The Banner of Self-Determination Whereas Magindanawn men had initially joined the MNLF as the expression ofthe bangsamoro ideal, by the early 1980s some Magindanawn were wary of nationalliberation and were swayed by their religious leaders, the imams and the ustadzes, to
  8. 8. 8champion a break-away movement for Islamic liberation – hence, the founding of theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). A cause and a significant clarion for inspiring religious zeal among grassrootsMagindanao of Central Mindanao was an aspect found in the sixth premise of a veritable“Moro people’s secessionist movement” charter: “…Muslim inhabitants have the dutyand the obligation to wage jihad (holy war) physically and spiritually to change the Morohomeland to Dar al-Islam” (Mercado 1992, 161; italics in original). b. The Dogma of Dar-ul Islam Gowing (1979, 202) summarizes the import of this concept for bangsamoro: “Inthe past, the region inhabited by Moros in the southern Philippines was clearly dar al-Islam, that is, territorially part of the ‘Abode of Islam.’ But its conquest by non-Muslimsput that region in an ambiguous position from the standpoint of Islamic law (Shari’a).” Ifterritorial understanding leads to the view that the purity of dar-ul Islam has been defiled,the following holds true: “In a traditionalist view of Islamic law, if a Muslim country isconquered by non-Muslims, who then by their policies and actions turn it into dar al-Harb[the territory of nonbelievers], it becomes lawful for the Muslim ‘prisoners’ to oppose thenon-Muslims and fight them in every possible way” (Ibid.). Since the influence of the MNLF as the mouthpiece of bangsamoro is still indispute due to their 1996 accord with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines(GRP), it falls to the Magindanao-controlled MILF to uphold the Islamic ideal for dar-ulIslam in Central Mindanao. True Islam, so it is said, can only be upheld by Muslimswhen the whole world becomes dar-ul Islam – only when there are no longer anyvestiges of dar-ul Harb. This is certainly what motivates the fighting and the struggleby those politicized Magindanawn in parts of Central Mindanao. 3. ‘Bangsamoro’ + ‘Civil Society’ = ‘Bangsamoro Civil Society’ Above in this article, previous discussion indicated diametric opposition ofbangsamoro interests to that of non-Muslims, whether expatriate or Filipino, expressednormally in fierce, intense and violent means. The very nature of civil-society, on theother hand, is to find nonviolent means to resolve conflict and encourage cooperation andpeaceful co-existence between two polarized factions. While some Jesuit priests (likeFather Pablo Pastells in the late nineteenth century) worked in the ilud township ofTamontaka to foster an environment of peace and harmony between the Magindanawnand surrounding lumad tribes (Schreurs 1994), the foundation for potential civil-societyresponses would not truly come until the arrival of the so-called American “mandate inMoroland” (Gowing 1983). In the early twentieth century, when the Americans acquired the Philippines asvictors of the Spanish-American War, the American emphasis on democracy and “libertyand justice for all” created a hopeful atmosphere for any and all future civil-societyresponses. Even the more beneficent Americans, however, eventually gave into theprimary directive of ensuring integration of all Filipinos into a nation called thePhilippines; this sometimes at the expense of touted democratic ideals. Therefore, a two-pronged polarization of grassroots Filipino movements against Manila-based
  9. 9. 9Americanized policies emerged: 1) Marxist-socialist and communist reaction in theexpression of the Huk rebellion and ultimately the creation of the New People’s Army(NPA); and, 2) Muslim rebellion and secessionist activities eventually crystallized in theMNLF and MILF of the 1970s and 1980s. As these two polarized fronts represented the extreme of discontent with thesystem as it was imposed upon the young Philippine nation-state, the post-World War IIgovernment in Manila was slowly coming into its own, as was its grassroots popularcounterpart, influencing responses akin to (American) democracy. This did not reach fullpolitical maturation until the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos via the EDSA movement of themid-1980s. By this time, then, not only was the Catholic Church a champion fordemocracy, freedom and justice, but other non-sectarian groups and non-governmentorganizations (NGO) joined in the movement. This was true mostly in Luzon withinmetro-Manila, but some measure of this type of civil-society had also found its waysouthward, especially regarding the plight and struggle of settler- and lumad-peasantsagainst the seemingly intractable machinery of Manila-led development. In a lesserdegree, then, civil-society began engaging with the conflict-affected areas of MuslimMindanao. It is in this context, then, that the progression and formation of Mindanao civil-society organizations (CSO), emanating from outside the influence of Islam, ischronicled: Figure 1 (below) shows Mindanao civil society as a political spectrum. It is by no means exhaustive but it does include important sectors and sectoral organizations that have established a name in civil society circles. To one side are groups perceived as either ‘legitimate’ or ‘conservative’, (because of their politics or their institutional connection) and on the other are networks, service providers, people’s organizations, campaign groups and the political organizations they are linked with. Public perceptions of these groups range from politically ‘progressive’ or liberal to ‘subversive’. Civil society groups of divergent political orientations quite often form broad-based alliances based on tactical or pragmatic goals.
  10. 10. 10Figure 1 Subversive/ProgressiveNGOs Networks People’s organizations / Campaign Groups Ideological forcesService providers Coalitions Networks / CoalitionsCommunity eg Women’s organizations Sectoral and issue- Political parties includingorganizing Trade Unions based campaigns armed politicalResearch Advocacy Peasant’s Associations eg foreign debt movementsSocial Development Urban and Ruralcooperatives Community organizationsCultural Groups Conservative/LegitimateChurch / Media Academe BusinessUmmahInter-faith Print Institute of Higher Learning Local Chambers ofDialogue Groups - Mindanao bureaus of Denominational State CommerceRoman Catholic national dailie Universities / Colleges BanksProtestant - Local weeklies/dailies Non-Denominational Private Multinational /UMMAH Groups Broadcast Universities / Colleges foreign - Local TV radio relay Civic Clubs stations - Broadcast networks People’s organizations, non-governmental and civic organizations exist in almost all provinces in Mindanao, but compared to Christian-led organizations, Moro civil society groups are still relatively few. (Cagoco-Guiam 1999, 2; ‘Figure 1’ chart in original) a. Advent of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) Leading up to the escalation of military forces on both sides (bangsamoro andArmed Forces of the Philippines [AFP]), there was one concerted effort by like-mindedagencies to convene a consultation that led to a resolution to form the “Consortium ofBangsaMoro NGOs and POs in Mindanao” (Philsol 1998). It would not be until after theculmination of the All-Out War under Estrada, however, that the atmosphere of commonMagindanao people and their leaders would be such that for them to consider other waysto resolve the deteriorating peace and order situation in Central Mindanao. Hence, theformation of the CBCS: It was only in 2002 that a Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society was formed among over 40 Muslim civil society organizations with Kadtuntaya Foundation, Inc. in Cotabato City as its secretariat. These organizations have realized the need to bond together and be in the forefront of peace and development work. Their programs in this regard focus on capacity building, research and advocacy. (Santos 2005, 72; italics in original)Today, the CBCS boasts “…a network of 164 Moro civil society organizations inMindanao” (Maulana 2008). How then does this network interact with the Magindanawnbloodline leadership of old?
  11. 11. 11 b. Datus and Filipino Muslim Sultanates Norms of historic Magindanawn society include the acceptance of, and obedienceto, the time-honored “datu system” (Ho & King 2003, 75; italics in original). Because ofthe hierarchical nature of the Filipino Muslim sultanate structure, “…the Sultan’s or thedatu’s claim to power and prestige was not merely his birth into the nobility and controlover real estate, but also his active leadership or control over a large group of followers”(Stewart 1977, 276-283). One of the guiding principles for CSO involvement is to haverespect for the culture and customs of the people receiving the assistance. Therefore, onerecent World Bank report on conflict-affected Central Mindanao asserts: “Because thetraditional leaders of a community have always played an important role in regulating therelationship of the members of the community with the outside world, prerogativesclaimed by traditional leaders can be expected to exert an important influence on projectoutcomes” (Judd & Adriano 2003, 26). This directive resonates with certain civil-society NGOs in Central Mindanao, buthistory shows that this is not the mandate that the GRP abides by. The words of the lateDr. Peter Gowing continue to ring true: It is in the light of this dar al-Islam / dar al-Harb dichotomy that many of the issues which Moros raise with the National Government should be seen. Their past and present anxieties over such matters as official recognition of the dignities and authority of their traditional leaders (sultans and datus),…respect for their religious customs, and official cognizance of Islamic and adat law (particularly in domestic and inheritance affairs), should be understood as part of their general concern…. Many Muslim Filipinos feel that their region is in great danger of slipping fully into dar al-Harb, and that Government policies and actions are having that effect. (Gowing 1979, 203-204; italics in original) Without question, it is Gowing’s last statement that speaks as loudly today as itdid thirty years ago. If events and activities in and around the Muslim world have causedany stir in Central Mindanao in the last ten to twenty years, it has been to awaken an“Islamic consciousness” (Che Man 1990, 57) concerning what is best for theMagindanawn people and what serves to preserve their ummah (community of faith) asthey continue to work towards dar-ul Islam. This then is the driving force ofbangsamoro civil society, as represented by the CBCS, to champion solutions for peaceand development initiatives in Central Mindanao that synchronize with the ethos ofIslam.Conclusion The Magindanawn people have lived especially in the region of Central Mindanaofor countless centuries. Their attachment to, and love for, the land – their ancestraldomain – embeds deeply into the Magindanawn psyche and worldview. Despite colonialincursions and imperialist advances against them and their land, by Europeans (especiallythe Spanish) and the Americans, their manoeuvres ‘within’ American and Manila-imposed political structures by accommodation-politics, and ‘without’ through rebelsocial movements, have always been done with the goal in mind to keep the Magindanaohomeland for the benefit of the Magindanawn people alone.
  12. 12. 12 While there is a notion of “dar al-Aman,” in which the land can be shared in somesemblance of co-existence with non-Muslims (Gowing 1979:203; italics in original), theconcept of dar-ul Islam, especially within the context of their Malay Muslim neighbors inMalaysia and Indonesia (McAmis 2002), is a stronger driving-force which guides thedirection of the GRP-MILF peace-talks to the present day, i.e., the “Memorandum ofAgreement” (MOA), especially with the stipulation of the MOA-AD (ancestral domain).In the fourth quarter of 2008, the AD stipulation was ‘off the table,’ especially since thePhilippine Supreme Court ruled it as unconstitutional. While this is still aninsurmountable problem for continuing the peace-talks, the Magindanawn will continueto move forward in their desire to see, once again, a homeland of their ancestral domainfor the future prosperity of their people.Notes This article represents research done by the author who is completing his Ph.D. dissertation inDevelopment Studies at Ateneo de Davao University. The Roman-script orthography of Magindanawn words has been standardized to an extent in “AMaguindanaon Dictionary” by Fr. Robert Sullivan, O.M.I. (1986). Prof. Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, of theMindanao State University in General Santos City, refers to that dictionary when she states that“…Magindanao is the place while Magindanawn is the name to refer to the people of the flooded plains.” “[Through the direction of Sharif Kabungsuwan,] a new system of government was instituted and itsrecords were registered. Tarsila were written and the noble lineage of the datus was carefully kept. Eachsultanate or datuship kept a separate genealogy” (Saleeby 1976, 1; italics in original). “The descent principle received further elaboration in the constitution of nobility. All the title holders inthe [Pulangi river] valley were, at least in theory, descended from the sharif (who according to localhistory, brought Islam to Mindanao) and so ultimately from the Prophet Mohammed. Although thepolitical order that this belief once supported has crumbled, the sense of nobility is very much alive amongthose who can locate ancestors on the ancient genealogies” (Beckett 1994, 290). This is obvious because the design for the whole archipelago was to be under colonial control of theSpaniards. Only when the Americans won the Spanish-American War in 1898, and they were willing tointroduce more democratic principles in governance, was it even possible to discuss the notion of state-sanctioned leadership. My appreciation to Prof. Cagoco-Guiam who, being married to a Magindanawn and being a professionaleducator and anthropologist, has unique insights on this from those perspectives: “When traditional leaders choose to become ‘co-opted’ or consciously tow the line of a predominant national leadership or government, I think it is not accommodation to it but rather an expression of their own pragmatism, one that is borne of the desire to perpetuate their being within the traditional royal family circle, as well as to enjoy the benefits of being part of the elected elite politicians. For these people who were born to privilege and probably some nascent power in their communities, it is doubly prestigious (and carry more maratabat) to be both traditional and political leaders associated with the national dominant political leaders. These politicians do not enter into this patron-client type of relationship with their eyes closed, nor without options. They chose to do it because it makes them and the future generations of their families survive for quite sometime. It is pragmatic and quite strategic, too. And when they invoke ‘Muslim interests’ as their motivation for forging these alliances, such interests are limited to those of their extended families – both by consanguinity and affinity. The interests of the vast majority of Muslims/bangsamoro who are poor and politically marginalized have never been their concern.
  13. 13. 13 Moro political leaders have come and gone, and have distinguished themselves as articulate or brilliant members of the Senate or Congress. But have they improved the lot of their poor, ordinary Muslim constituents? If they have, ARMM should not have been the perennial economic backwater in the Philippines since its creation.” “The United States Congress put on record in 1926 the petition sent to it in 1924 by Moro leaders whoexpressed their intention to declare themselves an independent Moro Nation should the United States grantindependence to the Philippines…. The Bacon Bill of 1926 also proposed that Mindanao and Sulu beretained under the American flag…. Despite the attempts of Moros to resist integration, the official policyof the United States remained always to incorporate Moroland into the Philippines” (Che Man 1990, 54). The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had been formed in 1984 as a splinter-group from the MNLF(Lucman 2000, 143), with which it was having some ideological and mostly religious differences. This is also true if only one specific territorial area becomes completely controlled by Muslims, e.g., 1)the city of Dar-es-Salaam in Africa, and 2) the Southeast Asian country of Brunei Darussalam.ReferencesAbinales, Patricio N. 2000. Making Mindanao: Cotabato and Davao in the Formation of the Philippine Nation-State. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.Beckett, Jeremy. 1982. The Defiant and the Compliant: The Datus of Magindanao under Colonial Rule. In Philippine Social History: Global Trade & Local Transformations. Alfred W. McCoy and Ed. C. De Jesus, eds. pp. 391-414. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.Cagoco-Guiam, Rufa. 1999. A critical partnership: civil society and the peace process. Conciliation Resources April [on-line]. Retrieved January 29, 2008, from http://www.c-r.org/our- work/accord/philippines-mindanao/critical-partnership.php.Casiño, Eric S. 1988. The Anthropology of Christianity and Islam in the Philippines: A Bipolar Approach to Diversity. In Understanding Islam and Muslims in the Philippines. Peter Gowing, ed. pp. 36- 45. Quezon City: New Day Publishers.Che Man, W.K. 1990. Muslim Separatism: The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.Gaspar, Karl M., CSsR, Elpidio A. Lapad and Ailynne J. Maravillas. 2001. Mapagpakamalinawon: A Reader for the Mindanawon Peace Advocate. Davao City: Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Inc.Gowing, Peter G. 1979. Muslim Filipinos – Heritage and Horizon. Quezon City: New Day Publishers.Gowing, Peter G. 1983. Mandate in Moroland: The American Government of Muslim Filipinos 1899- 1920. Quezon City: New Day Publishers.Ileto, Reynaldo, C. 2007. Magindanao 1860-1888: The Career of Datu Utto of Buayan. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc.Jubair, Salah. 1999. Bangsamoro: A Nation Under Endless Tyranny (Third Edition). Kuala Lumpur: IQ Marin SDN BHD.
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