Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, Almost Got Separated from the Jurisdiction of the Philippine Government…during the American Regime

Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan, Almost Got Separated

From the Jurisdiction of the Philippine Government

…during the American Regime

Apolinario Villalobos

In November 1923, the American Chamber of Commerce of Mindanao and Sulu made a proposal to make the Muslim area as an unorganized domain directly under the rule of the Americans. A distinct system of government suited for the area was suggested. However, the proposal was not given much attention, until the Bacon Bill revived the issue.

The sponsors of the Bacon Bill expressed that they just wanted to protect the “defenseless and unarmed, though proud and self-respecting Moros”. As expected, the Filipino leaders opposed the Bill, as they saw the hidden motive behind it which was the exploitation of the areas for rubber production in favor of the American interest. During the time, about more than three million hectares of land in Mindanao were suitable for the cultivation of rubber tree. The Filipinos vehemently insisted that, would there be foreign investors interested in seizing the opportunity of cultivating rubber in Mindanao, it should be fairly done under the administration of the Philippine Government.

As a last desperate argument, proponents of the proposal also insisted that the Moros in Mindanao were never desirous of independence, but prefer to remain under the sovereignty and protection of the Americans. They cited an incident in the past, whereby, Moro leaders supposedly, petitioned the Governor General and the US Congress about such desire. Unfortunately, this allegation was not factually established, as some parties insisted that Filipino Muslims did not really want to separate from their Christian brothers and sisters, but to have independence with them.

The importune Bacon Bill, fortunately, did not illicit support from then, President Collidge and the US Congress. Lately, there’s another move to separate the Moroland from the archipelago via the “original” Bangsamoro Basic Law but was fortunately reviewed for revision before it got implemented. The separation proposal was championed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, under Iqbal, and ably supported by Ferrer and Deles, two government representatives in the negotiation panel for peace in Mindanao. The proposal is now assuming another name, “Basic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” which is more appropriate to be consistent with the rest of the other autonomous regions that are already in place. History repeats itself, indeed….

To Blog and Risk Losing Life, Friends and Kinsfolks or Not to Blog and Remain Nice to All…and Stay Alive

To Blog and Risk Losing Life, Friends and Kinsfolks

Or Not to Blog and Remain Nice to All…and Stay Alive

By Apolinario Villalobos

The difference between “blogging” and “contributing” is that while the former gets published in the web of the information technology, the latter gets printed on papers. However, their common denominator is the “purpose” which is to “share”…a risky endeavor, especially, if what are shared concern politics, corruption, and religion. The risk is on losing one’s life, kinsfolks, and longtime friends.

In our province, Marlene Garcia Esperat, a courageous mediaperson lost her life when she exposed anomalous transactions in a government agency. The obviously hired killer had the gall to enter her house and pumped bullets into her head, to make sure that she was disabled for life. That’s one risk, made real – losing one’s life. Similar stories get splashed on pages of tabloids and broadsheets that many people do not take seriously, as they are perceived to be just ordinary incidents akin to road accidents and apprehension of drug pushers.

Bloggers cannot limit themselves with shares about fashion, literary, foods, travel, photography, etc. Sometimes they have to touch on controversial matters, such as politics that include corruption, and religion.  Blogs on these topics may affect the bloggers’ sensitive relatives and friends. Bloggers, therefore, wonder why, all of a sudden, some relatives and friends shy away from them. Some find themselves ignored by friends and buddies since grade school, as well as beloved relatives.

This unfortunate reality is happening to all bloggers. I found this out when I attended a small gathering of bloggers, during which blogging updates were passed around. Two bloggers shared that their sites were hacked, and another started getting threats via facebook messages when he uploaded blogs shared from other sites, about a controversial politician from their province in the north. Expectedly, the sender uses a fictitious personality.

Bloggers are just human instruments of the information technology, so that what they do should not be taken against them. A lot of sacrifice is made, aside from exhaustive effort in coming up with blogs, not to mention the precious time spent and money saved from scrimping on other necessities. Some bloggers earn, but most do not…as they bring out ideas, mainly due to their ardent love for writing and sharing.