STOP using the word “moro-moro”

Batanes to Tawi Tawi

With Julmunir I. Jannaral

STOP using the word “moro-moro” was an admonish said by my late Political Law professor, Atty. Alan Paguia to my non-Muslim classmates in our subject at the College of Law at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) in Intramuros, Manila.

We were then having a class discussion when one of my classmates kept on saying “moro-moro.” Upon seeing me as the only Muslim law student in his class which in all likelihood a blue-blood Moro, Atty. Paguia asked me how do I feel every time I heard someone using the word “moro-moro.” I replied “simply I felt bad” about it. But considering there is no specific law or ordinance that prohibits people from using the word “moro-moro” I could not do anything about it.

Hence, Atty. Paguia took the cudgel in my behalf and said, “from now on with due respect to your only Muslim classmate here and for the rest of our Moro brothers, let us STOP using the word “moro-moro.”

I have chosen this “moro-moro” topic for my weekly Column Batanes To Tawi-Tawi on this 7th Digital Edition of Philippine Muslim Today after I heard the replay on the NewsTV of GMA7 of the 17th Congress Committee Hearing of the Committee on Justice where the Congressmen members of the said committee were grilling a high profile inmate of National Bilibid Prison (NBP) Jaybee Sebastian, who admitted he was imprisoned since 2009 for kidnapping and carjacking. But later on he became as among the big time Filipino drug lords together with Chinese drug lords who continue to engage in the selling of illegal drugs like Shabu although under incarceration inside the national penitentiary. 

Asked how did he make the transaction he said it was done by cellphone that surreptitiously brought inside by his visitors with the connivance of jail guards that are supposedly should be strict enough in guarding the jail gate for the entry of prohibited items like cellphone.

Jaybee was one of the witnesses who testified that he himself gave P10 million drug money to then DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima for her campaign kitty when she ran as a Senator and won. But she is now languishing in jail at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

However, Jaybee Sebastian died just a few days ago which according to the NBP doctor was due to Covid-19 and was immediately cremated at the Dasmarinas crematorium in Cavite. The immediate cremation was protested by Jaybee’s wife since she did not see anymore the cadaver and what only left were the ashes of her husband kept in an urn.

Somehow, this is just the other side of the story and the said Committee on Justice is indirectly had given injustice to us Moros.

One of the lady solons who did the interpellation on Jaybee Sebastian kept on saying “moro-moro” for several times. This has reminded me of my Political Law professor Atty. Paguia who admonished my classmates to refrain from using the word “moro-moro” and not to further “bastardized” the word Moro.

Moro-moro is a play that became popular in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period where the Moros were portrayed as perpetual villains who always lost to Christians in the end.

It depicts battles, in a rather comedic way, between Christians and Moros but Muslims nowadays in the Philippines prefer to be called as such after the revolutionary movements used Moro as the first word of the name of their revolutionary group.

Muslim rebel groups in the Philippines call themselves as either the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Chairman Nur Misuari or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chaired by the late Salamat Hashim and succeeded by Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim.

Nowadays, moro-moro is a term used to mean a situation being played from a given script. But reference to any moro-moro is by no means intended to belittle us among Muslims.

Administration critics have decried alleged attempts by the police and the military to do a moro-moro or stage-managed justification for the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao a few years ago after the Maguindanao massacre.

Thus, according to Wikipedia, the collective Moro people or Bangsamoro people refers to the Islamized ethnolinguistic groups of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan.

Trivia: One of the highlights of the 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte held at the Batasang Pambansa on the 27th of July 2020 was when he made mentioned about the poor telecommunications in the country. 

In particular he emphasized on the lousy services of the two telcos the Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. He warned the two cellphone companies that they should improve their services by December. Though the President was serious in his warning still he cracked a joke that Globe and Smart  should have a strong signal by the month of December 2020 as he will be calling Jesus Christ in Betlehem.

Otherwise he emphasized that the government will take over the telecommunications without the presence of Globe and Smart anymore. But he did not categorically say if the two companies would suffer like the fate of ABS-CBN that the franchise to operate was not renewed.

Nevertheless another highlight of his SONA was when he called on the Filipino people to help each other and said, “this is the time for all of us to help one another in this time of Pandemic.”

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