The Moro Wars: Stateless children and refugees, the collateral damage

By AMINULLAH ALONTO LUCMAN

First of 2 Parts

In the horrible Mindanao wars for centuries, there hasn’t been any to suggest of a mouthful of disgust sensing the ‘damages’ coming from any standpoint imaginable; or see and not be wrinkled, cringy over what collateral damage we may have to live with, how individual guilt translate in something discernible learning the centuries old ‘Moro Wars’. Or try forgetting them.

CORREGIDOR MASSACRE. The late Sultan Rashid Lucman speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives as representative of Lanao del Sur lone district calling for investigation of the Corregidor Massacre of young Muslim soldiers allegedly trained by the Philippine government to infiltrate Sabah. (Photo supplied)

What have we ‘learned’ from the many facets and paces of war, conflicts, upheavals, experiences that traversed boundaries and aliens, that as yet to taper, and remain in the high wire. What facts of war that as once rulers of our land, we chose, or defaulted, not capitulated, and not to be ‘mindful’ about questions we certainly have to answer for, and are yet to jar, shake us wild and harder, to be able to awaken from slumber.

Yet despite all these, we do, unconsciously or not, exalt, celebrate all the wrong, mistakes, questionable formulations fed us, what kind of people are we then?

You see, coming to know part of what is us and leaving it to languish in oblivion, not caring about them, that condensation of issues best analyzed, studied; why have we to pile up PhD, excellence in the academe and just end up kowtow morons, it is abomination, or is it not?

If having all these medallions of excellence in the academic world are just for showboating, gather dust, aha we deserve to be led by morons, would that include dying too, needlessly?

That cannot be me, I assure each and everyone of that. Besides, I am not my father’s son or my uncle’s nephew if by default I chose to cower.

In 1968, I was very young, a high school kid just about to learn some facts of life ‘unheard of’ growing up famished of amenities in #Marawi City. I was in Manila among few Muslim kids older than I was trooping over to the Capitol city to be schooled.

I find it crucial to train our thoughts to the year 1968 because that year, Muslims had none of any issue dumbfounding, recalcitrant, or deeply as disturbing as it is today, comparatively.

Everybody with the grain of salt, poor, rich, farmer, fisher folks, traders, politicians, had only but one goal, be educated, their children at least, nothing else.

The year 1968 was significant because in this timeline will serve as the umbilical cord by which to deliver us this day in the 2020s, wars, conflicts, drug abuse, KFRs (kidnap for ransom), EJK (extra-judicial killing), global terror, all the stuff to churn the stomach.

Very sad but what can we say, gov’t inadvertently says these as our ‘Muslim rebellion, our Muslim terroristic dogma’. The matter of fact is, this is ‘state sponsorship’ of wars for ulterior gains of despots, dictators all on their own.

1968 is as important, in this year, it uncovered mass killings or massacres unheard of in 1968. The Philippine congress no less, uncovered very hush hush ‘secretive’ scheming masterminded by a Filipino president, planning sinister wars, so secretly.

Shockingly for everyone, in the secret scheming, they planned taking Sabah, Malaysia, by forcible means. This was never before done by anyone except the World War ll Adolf Hitler roasting 6 million Jews.

At the start of the very startling narrative, an early morning call rang disturbing my routine, an unholy 3 am call. The phone call was from Cavite Congressman Justiniano Montano, an LP opposition stalwart, frantic and asking for my father. This was 1968.

The startled cousin of my father recognized the voice and made the dash, banging on my father’s door. No one does that, not even mother. I said to myself, somebody must be dead!

Just as curious as I was, first time seeing my father descending from our winding stairwell in quick paces, at 5 am? So okay, somebody’s dead and kept quiet, worst, no car to take me to school, but 50 red bucks was given me to take a jeep or taxi.

Never had 50 bucks and I haven’t got the cinch riding public transport, but I know how to take the Jeepney going to the movies!

My father was also congressman and Rep. Montano are best of friends. Both are members of the 6th congress.

I’ve been taken along with siblings visit Cavite, father sumptuously enjoying seafoods at times and beaches not long back when picnics were for families enjoying tranquil lives, not complicated as now’s.

Anyway, my father was told somebody was fished out of shark-infested waters off Cavite province who spoke no word of Tagalog or english, but says he is Muslim. His name was Jibin Arula, a Tausug from Siasi, Sulu. Jibin’s father though transferred residence to Tawi-Tawi.

And my father spoke Tausug, only then too did I learn we have Tausug blood.

During the interview, he told my father all that was in the telltale ‘invasion’ crafted by then President Ferdinand Marcos. A top secret scheming aimed at annexation of the Sabah State of Malaysia. Arula also disclosed of a massacre killing all his fellow army trainees along with their training officer, said to be a PMAyer and his Sergeant Major aide.

In quick succession of events, naval gunboats said to be Malaysians entered Philippine waters to engage in act obviously belligerent, apparently gearing for a fight. In one of the hastily called rare urgent meetings in our house, then Speaker Pro Tem Salipada K. Pendatun says he emphatically instructed our elite ‘blue diamond’ air force squadron not to engage, just let them thru.

And so, a possible shooting war was averted, a rare display of statesmanship. Every Muslim leader during those really harrowing times ‘were against’ war. Except for just one lone Muslim legislator, a pro Marcos Solon, all opposition members of both houses of congress batted for an impeachment of then President Ferdinand Marcos for treason violating international law and our 1935 Philippine Constitution.

This narrative however are phases short; there’s still are ‘untold story’ how Southeast Asian leaders in the 50s beginning with Indonesia treated each other really closely, really siblings-like. Indonesia at certain timeline tell of their struggles against their Dutch colonial masters, were supplied arms by the Philippines, to free them from their colonial masters. MAPHILINDO was among early collaborations, acronym being Malaysia Philippines and Indonesia.

(To be continued)

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