|5% of the Philippine population|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei|
|Maguindanao, Maranao, Tausug, Malay, Arabic, Zamboangueño, Cebuano, English, other Philippine languages, and other languages.|
The Moro people or Bangsamoro are a population of indigenous Muslims in the Philippines, forming the largest non-Catholic group in the country, and comprising about 5% of the total Philippine population.
There are 13 Moro ethnic groups, and the majority of their populations are also Muslim, mostly followers of Sunni branch, with a minority to Shi'a branch. The term came into use during the precolonial period, drawing upon a term used centuries earlier to refer to Muslims of al-Andalus in southern Spain during the Reconquista and applied to the native Muslims within conquered islands. In modern history, influential groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) espoused Moro identity to unify all Muslim groups. This is separate from the "Filipino" as it was seen as an epithet to Christian ethnic groups. Despite that the Moro concept represents their distinct Islamic heritage, MNLF leader Nur Misuari clarifies that they are nonetheless a microcosm of a bigger Filipino society. This is rooted from resistance of then-Spanish and American rule, and into a reaction against an independent Philippine state disproportionately ruled by Christians.
The Moro people mostly live in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan. Due to continuous movement of people from before the 16th century through today, Moro communities are now found in all large cities in the Philippines, including Manila, Cebú and Dávao. In the last half of the 20th century, many Moros have emigrated to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei due to the war in Southern Philippines. Newer communities can be found today in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Semporna in Sabah, Malaysia, North Kalimantan in Indonesia, as well as in Brunei.
- 1 Ethnic divisions
- 2 Society
- 3 History
- 3.1 Early history
- 3.2 Colonial period
- 3.3 Modern days
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The thirteen Moro ethnic groups located in the southern islands of the Philippines are as follows:
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Moro people remained separated from the mainstream Philippine society,[dubious ] due to social and political factors. The word Moro was a term used in the sixteenth century by Spanish colonisers in reference to the shared Islamic beliefs between the tribal groups in the Philippines and the ethnically distinct Moors of Al-Andalus in Spain.
Despite opposition from some who objected to the term's origin in Spanish colonialism, the name has evolved and become seen as a unitary force. It was adopted by several independence movements in the region in the late 1960s and early 1970s including the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Rashid Lucman's Bangsa Moro Liberation Organisation (BMLO). The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) later adopted it too in 1984.
The term Bangsamoro, derived from the old Malay word bangsa, meaning nation and the Moro as people, is used to describe both the Moro people and their homeland. Marvic Leonen, who was Chief Peace Negotiator for the Republic of the Philippines with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has said "there is Bangsamoro the place; there is Bangsamoro the identity." The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro recognises Bangsamoro as an identity and calls for the creation of an autonomous political entity called Bangsamoro.
The native Muslims of Mindanao often consider the "Moro" ethnic term in rejection to being called Filipino.
The territory of the Moro is called the Bangsamoro region.
Their territory is located in the provinces of Basilan, Cotabato, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Palawan, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sulu, Tawi-Tawi. It includes the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi. The territory of the former British protectorate in eastern North Borneo (now eastern Sabah) which is administered by Malaysia but disputed by the Philippines, has also been claimed by the Moro National Liberation Front for the Bangsamoro Republik, which declared independence in 2013.
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro defines the Bangsamoro to be "[t]hose who at the time of conquest and colonisation were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands including Palawan, and their descendants whether of mixed or of full blood".
The 5 August 2008, attempt by the Philippine government's Peace Negotiating Panel to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was declared unconstitutional by the Philippine Supreme Court. Conflict immediately broke out on the ground following the decision, with nearly half a million people displaced and hundreds killed. Observers now concur that two Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders — Kumander Umbra Kato and Kumander Bravo — did launch attacks in Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato as a response to the non signing that has shaken the peace process in the region.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is headed by a regional governor as the outcome of the Final Peace Agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Republic of the Philippines in 1996 under President Fidel Ramos. The regional governor, with the regional-vice governor, act as the executive branch and are served by a Regional Cabinet, composed of regional secretaries, mirroring national government agencies of the Philippines.
The ARMM has a unicameral Regional Assembly headed by a speaker. This acts as the legislative branch for the region and is responsible for regional ordinances. It is composed of three members for every congressional district. The current membership is twenty-four.
Some of this Regional Assembly's acts have since been nullified by the Supreme Court on grounds that they are "unconstitutional". An example is the nullification of the creation of the Province of Shariff Kabungsuwan by the Regional Legistative Assembly (RLA) as this will create an extra seat in the Philippines Congress' House of Representatives, a power reserved solely for the Philippine Congress — Senate and House jointly — to decide on. Some would say, that this proves in itself the fallacy of its Autonomy granted by the Central Government during the Peace Process.
Moro culture is very Malay-influenced. Islam is the most dominant influence on the Moro culture. Large and small mosques can be found all over the region. In accordance with Islamic Law, alcohol and fornication are prohibited. Pork and pork byproducts are not permissible. Another practice is fasting during Ramadan and providing charity for the poor. The Hajj is also a major ritual. Moro women cover themselves using the veil just as in Malaysia and Indonesia. Moro men, especially the elderly, can always be seen wearing the kupya or Muslim skull cap. The Bangsamoro share the attitude of the related ethnic group, the Malay people in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
The culture of the Moro revolves around the music of the kulintang, a type of gong instrument, akin to the drum instrument, yet wholly made of bronze or brass found in the southern Philippines. This creats a unique sound that varies in the speed it is hit which includes the Binalig, Tagonggo and the Kapanirong plus others more also normally heard in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
There are at least ten ethnic groups comprising the Moro of the Philippines; all descended from the same Austronesian people (Malayo-Polynesian) that migrated from Taiwan and populated the regions of the Philippines, Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and Madagascar. Three of these groups make up the majority of these tribes. They are the Maguindanaon of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces, the Maranao of the Lanao provinces and the Tausug of the Sulu Archipelago. Smaller groups include the Banguingui, Samal and the Bajau of the Sulu Archipelago; the Yakan of Basilan and Zamboanga del Sur, the Illanun of Lanao provinces and Davao and Sangir of Davao, the Molbog of southern Palawan and the Jama Mapuns of Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island.
Moro groups are not united and they lack solidarity. Each group is proud of their culture, identity, language and religion. Internal differences manifested in occasional internecine dispute.
Christian converts (Tagalogs, Kapampangans, Cebuanos) to Islam may self-identify or be identified by others as Moro
The Moro people are mostly speakers of a variety of Austronesian languages. The most-spoken native languages of the Moro are the Maguindanaon, Tausūg and Maranao languages. The Maguindanao language is spoken in the Maguindanao Province, the Maranao language is predominant in the Lanao region, and is the majority spoken in Lanao del Sur and the Tausūg language is spoken in the Sulu Archipelago with speakers in the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Malaysian state of Sabah.
Other Austronesian languages spoken by their respective tribes are the Sama-Bajau languages, Yakan and Kalagan.
Also spoken among the Moros of Mindanao and Sulu is Tagalog, for the sake of living in the Philippines and being a national language of the Philippines. There also exists a native Tagalog Muslim community in the Quiapo District of Metro Manila. Because of the mass influx of Cebuano migrants to Mindanao, many of the Moros tend to be exposed to the Cebuano language from Visayan easily enough to be able to speak it, especially with the Tau Sūg since Bahasa Sūg is a Visayan language.
A sizeable minority speaks Malay, also an Austronesian language which was the once the lingua franca of maritime Southeast Asia prior to contact with the European colonial powers. Today, many Moro merchants use Malay to converse with citizens of the neighbouring Malay-speaking nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Most of the Malay-speaking Muslims of the Philippines are those in the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza and Balabac in Palawan. They likely speak a form of Malay creole. Many of the Tau Sūg in Malaysia and Indonesia (known there as Suluks) tend to lose their proficiency in both Bahasa Sūg, Chavacano, and Tagalog, as they become assimilated into the Malay-speaking majority of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Chavacano (sometimes spelled as Chabacano or Chabakano) is a Philippine Spanish Creole, that gained popularity as a Philippine major language during the short-lived Republic of Zamboanga. Most of the Moros have also attained the ability to speak this language, specifically the Zamboanga dialect known as Zamboangueño especially those that live in Zamboanga and Basilan. Chavacano is popular with both Muslims and Christians (mostly Roman Catholics) in Mindanao and Sulu. Minority of Moros in Sulu and Tawi-tawi speak Chavacano as these areas were partially ruled by the Spanish. Tausugs have fluency of speaking it, as Chavacano contains Visayan words. Chavacano also contains communities of speakers in Sabah.
Most of the languages of the Moro people are written in the Latin script. However, an Arabic script known as Jawi is used to write Bahasa Sūg. Attempts are being made to make Jawi an official script in the future Bangsamoro entity.
Generally, the Moro populace are educated. Some choose Islamic Education and enrolled in Islamic/Arabic Institutions like Jamiatul Mindanao Al-Islamie located in Marawi City and even outside the country like in Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt and Islamic University of Madinah, Saudi Arabia through scholarship grants while majority completed English/Western Education. They owe it to Mindanao State University, the second biggest state university in the Philippines next to University of the Philippines, which has several campuses across Mindanao and its Main Campus is located at the heart of Islamic City of Marawi. Mindanao State University has also an Islamic Institute within its campus which is the King Faisal Center for Islamic Arabic, Asian Studies. Some Moro students are enrolled at other institutions both private and government especially in key cities such as Davao, Cebu and Manila.
In the 13th century, the arrival of Muslim missionaries from Persian Gulf, including one, Makhdum Karim, in Tawi-Tawi initiated the conversion of the native population into Islam. Trade between Malaysia and Indonesia helped establish the Islamic religion in the southern Philippines.
In 1457, the introduction of Islam led to the creation of Sultanates. This included the sultanates of Buayan, Maguindanao and Sulu, which is considered the oldest Muslim government in the country until its annexation by the United States in 1898.
Sulu and other Muslim sultanates were introduced to Islam by Chinese Muslims, Persians, and Arabs. Chinese Muslim merchants participated in the local commerce, and the Sultanate had diplomatic relations with Ming Dynasty China, being involved in the tribute system, the Sulu leader Paduka Batara and his sons moved to China, where he passed away and Chinese Muslims brought up his sons.
The inhabitants of pre-Hispanic Philippines practised Islam and Animism. The Malay kingdoms interacted, and traded with various tribes throughout the islands, governing several territories ruled by chieftains called Rajah, Datu and Sultan.
The Spaniards arrived in 1521 and the Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire in 1565. The sultanates, however, actively resisted the Spaniards, thus maintaining their relative independence, enabling them to develop an Islamic culture and identity, different from the rest of the Christianised natives which the Spaniards called "Indios" (Indians).
With intentions of colonising the islands, the Spaniards made incursions into Moro territory. They also began erecting military stations and garrisons with Catholic missions, which attracted Christianised natives of civilian settlements. The most notable of these are Zamboanga and Cotabato. Spain was under Inquisition which ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to Roman Catholicism or leave or face death penalty, thus Spaniards try to ban and suppress Islam in areas they conquer.
Feeling threatened by these actions, the Moros decided to challenge the Spanish government. They began conducting raids on Christian coastal towns. These Moro raids reached a fevered pitched during the reign of Datu Bantilan in 1754.
The Spanish-Moro Conflict started at the phase of Castille War (Spanish-Brunei War) which created the war between Spaniards and Moros in areas held by Sultanate of Brunei lasted several hundred years, while Castille War lasted 2 months.
The string of coastal fortifications, military garrisons and forts built by the Spaniards ensured that these raids, although destructive to the Philippine economies of the coastal settlements, were eventually stifled. The advent of steam-powered naval ships finally drove the antiquated Moro navy of colourful paraws and vintas to their bases. It took until the final 2 decades of the presence of the Spanish in the Philippines for them to launch an extensive conquest of Mindanao. The Sultanate of Sulu, the only sultanate left standing, itself soon fell under a concerted naval and ground attack from Spanish forces. In the last quarter of the 19th century Moros in the Sultanate of Sulu formally recognised Spanish sovereignty, but these areas remained loosely controlled by the Spanish as their sovereignty was limited to military stations and garrisons and pockets of civilian settlements in Zamboanga and Cotabato (the latter is under Sultanate of Maguindanao), until they had to abandon the region as a consequence of their defeat in the Spanish–American War. Before that Sultanate of Sulu totally gave up its rule over Palawan to Spain in 1705 and Basilan to Spain in 1762, the areas that Sulu Sultanate gave partial rule to Spain are Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
In 1876, the Spaniards launched a campaign to colonise Jolo and made a final bid to establish a government in the southern islands. On 21 February of that year, the Spaniards assembled the largest contingent in Jolo, consisting of 9,000 soldiers in 11 transports, 11 gunboats and 11 steamboats. José Malcampo occupied Jolo and established a Spanish settlement with Pascual Cervera appointed to set up a garrison and serve as military governor. He served from March 1876 to December 1876 and was followed by José Paulin (December 1876-April 1877), Carlos Martínez (September 1877-February 1880), Rafael de Rivera (1880–1881), Isidro G. Soto (1881–1882), Eduardo Bremon, (1882), Julian Parrrado (1882–1884), Francisco Castilla (1884–1886), Juan Arolas (1886-18930, Caésar Mattos (1893), Venancio Hernández (1893–1896) and Luis Huerta (1896–1899).
The Chinese sold small arms like Enfield and Spencer Rifles to the Buayan Datu Uto. They were used to battle the Spanish invasion of Buayan. The Datu paid for the weapons in slaves. The population of Chinese in Mindanao in the 1880s was 1,000. The Chinese ran guns across a Spanish blockade to sell to Mindanao Moros. The purchases of these weapons were paid for by the Moros in slaves in addition to other goods. The main group of people selling guns were the Chinese in Sulu. The Chinese took control of the economy and used steamers to ship goods for exporting and importing. Opium, ivory, textiles, and crockery were among the other goods which the Chinese sold.
The Chinese on Maimbung sent the weapons to the Sulu Sultanate, who used them to battle the Spanish and resist their attacks. A Chinese was one of the Sultan's brother in laws, the Sultan was married to his sister. He and the Sultan both owned shares in the ship (named the Far East) which helped smuggled the weapons.
The Spanish launched a surprise offensive under Colonel Juan Arolas in April 1887 by attacking the Sultanate's capital at Maimbung in an effort to crush resistance. Weapons were captured and the property of the Chinese were destroyed while the Chinese were deported to Jolo.
By 1878, they had fortified Jolo with a perimeter wall and tower gates, built inner forts called Puerta Blockaus, Puerta España and Puerta Alfonso XII, and two outer fortifications named Princesa de Asturias and Torre de la Reina. Troops including a cavalry with its own lieutenant commander were garrisoned within the protective confine of the walls. In 1880, Rafael Gonzales de Rivera, who was appointed the governor, dispatched the 6th Regiment to govern Siasi and Bongao islands.
Moro and Indio
Moro were the natives who were never subjugated by the Spaniards during the entire 350 years they ruled the East while the Indios were subjected to Spanish rule on the same length of years. Indios were the Christianised natives who were oppressed under Spanish regime, who used to pay taxes and subjected to slavery by the Spaniards. Indios particularly the Visayas people were fighting along with the Spanish against the Moro and their Sultanates. Today, Indios are the Christian Filipinos which make up the majority of the Philippines.
In the northern area of Borneo in Sabah, most of the recognised Moro citizens have lived in the area since the rule of the Sultanate of Sulu.[note 1] During the British administration of North Borneo, a recognised Moros Bajau-Suluk warrior in the Malaysian history help to fight off the British in a battle known as Mat Salleh Rebellion and gained many supports from other natives.
The Moros fought against the Japanese occupation of Mindanao and Sulu during World War II and eventually drove them out. Also when the Japanese occupied the northern Borneo area, native Sabahan Moros once again involved in a struggle to fight off the Japanese where many of them including women and kids been massacred after their revolt with the Chinese been foiled by the Japanese.
In the Philippines
Philippine independence and government policies
After gaining independence from the United States, the Moro population, which was isolated from the mainstream and experienced discrimination by the Philippine government, added to the fact that they were now governed by what they view as the former foot soldiers of Spain, their ancestral lands given away to settlers and corporations by land-tenure Laws, arming the settlers as militia in Mindanao, Filipinization as a the government policy which eventually gave rise to armed secession movements.
Struggle for independence
Modern day Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines began between the 1960s and 1980s. During that period, the Philippine government envisioned a new country in which Christian and Moro would be assimilated into the dominant culture. This vision, however, was generally rejected by both groups, the Christian looking still hearing stories from Spanish foot soldier stories of how fierce the Moro was, and the Moro remembering the Christian as helping its Spanish enemy for 300 years. The two just won't mix. Because of this, the government realised thought that there was a need for a specialised agency to deal with the Moro community, so they set up the Commission for National Integration (CNI)in the 1960s, which was later replaced by the Office of Muslim Affairs, and Cultural Communities (OMACC) and later on as OMA.
As they thought, concessions were made to the Moro after the creation of these agencies, with the Moro population receiving exemptions from national laws prohibiting polygamy and divorce which the Moro has already been exercising. In 1977, the Philippine government another palliative attempt is to move a step further by harmonising Moro customary law with the national law which has no bearing at all for the Moro.
Naturally, most of these achievements were seen as superficial. The Moro, still dissatisfied with the past Philippine governments' policies and mis-understanding established the Moro National Liberation Front led by Nur Misuari with the intention of creating their independent homeland. This initiated the Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines, which is still going on up to the present, and has since created fractures between Muslims, Christians, and people of other religions. The MNLF is the only recognised representative organisation for the Muslims of the Philippines by the Organisation of Islamic Nations (OIC).
By the 1970s, a paramilitary organisation created by settler mayors in collusion with the Philippine Constabulary, mainly of armed Hiligaynon-speaking Christian residents of mainland Mindanao, called the Ilagas began operating in Cotabato originating from settler communities. In response, Moro volunteers with minimal weapons also group themselves with much old traditional weapons like the keris, spears and barong, such as the Blackshirts of Cotabato and the Barracudas of Lanao, began to appear and engage the Ilagas. The Armed Forces of the Philippines were also deployed; however, their presence only seemed to create more violence and reports that the Army and the settler militia are helping each other. A Zamboangan version of the Ilagas, the Mundo Oscuro (Spanish for Dark World), was also organised in Zamboanga and Basilan.
In 1981, internal divisions within the MNLF caused the establishment of an Islamic paramilitary breakaway organisation called the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The group continued the insurgency when the MNLF signed a Peace Deal with the Philippine Government in 1994. It has now become the biggest and most organised Moro armed group in Mindanao and Sulu.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front are now on the final stages of the required annexe for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro that has a set time frame of full implementation in 2016.
Although initialled in a 1976 ceasefire, come 1987 as a fall out of the EDSA revolution, peace talks with the MNLF picked up pace with the intention of establishing an autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao. On 1 August 1989, through Republic Act No. 6734, known as the Organic Act, a 1989 plebiscite was held in 18 provinces in Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago and Palawan without considering the effects of continuous migration by settlers from Luzón and the Visayas. This was said to determine if the residents would still want to be part of an Autonomous Region. Out of all the Provinces and cities participating in the plebiscite, only four provinces opted to join, namely: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Even its regional capital, Cotabato City, rejected joining the autonomous region as the settlers has now greatly outnumbered the indigenous Moro and Lumad. When before they are a majority, they have now become a minority.
This still led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, however. A second plebiscite, held a year more in 2001, managed to included Basilan (except its capital, Isabela City) and Marawi City in the autonomous region. Of the original 13 provinces agreed on the FPA with the Moro National Liberation Front, only 5 has now been included in the present day ARMM due to the continuous settler program of the Republic of the Philippines that started in the earnest of 1901.
The Moros had a history of resistance against Spanish, American, and Japanese rule for over 400 years. The violent armed struggle against the Japanese, Filipinos, Spanish, and Americans is considered by current Moro Muslim leaders as part of the four centuries long "national liberation movement" of the Bangsamoro (Moro Nation). The 400-year-long resistance against the Japanese, Americans, and Spanish by the Moro Muslims persisted and morphed into their current war for independence against the Philippine state.
Some Moros have formed terrorist organisations including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the breakaway faction of the MNLF), the Abu Sayyaf, and by Jemaah Islamiyah. Even the armed Communist Party has gained its foothold in Mindanao with large Lumad adherents.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front boycotted the original referendum formed by the Organic Act referendum and continued the armed struggle through the 20th and into the 21st centuries. However, it remains a partner to the peace process in the southern islands, with the Philippines unwilling to brand MILF a "terrorist" group lest the separatists be driven away from the negotiating table.
Today, the Moro people are still disadvantaged by opportunities and pushed out of their ancestral lands compared to the majority Christians in terms of employment and housing; they are frequently misportrayed and discriminated against in the media as scapegoats or warmongers. This has established escalating tensions that have contributed to the ongoing conflict between the Philippine government and the Moro people. In addition, there has been a large exodus of Moro peoples (Tausug, Samal, Bajau, Illanun, Maguindanao) to Malaysia (Sabah) and Indonesia (North Kalimantan) over the last 30 to 50 years, due to the illegal annexation of their land by the Christians, and armed militias such as the Ilaga has divided the trust between Settler and Moro communities. Land Tenure Laws has changed the population statistics of the Bangsamoro to a significant degree, and has caused the gradual displacement of this indigenous from their traditional lands.
2014 Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law
The office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has posted a set of frequently asked questions about the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the draft of which President Benigno Aquino III submitted to Congress leaders.
The Bangsamoro Basic Law abolishes the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and establishes the new Bangsamoro political identity in its place. The law is based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in March 2014.
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- Minorities during Martial Law: Moro
- Moro Community Affairs
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- A new medium for the modern moro
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