Reflections on the Bangsamoro
Decades in the making, the conflict in the southern parts of Mindanao was born of centuries old problems inherited from our Spanish colonizers in their tactic of divide-and-conquer. They say that if the Spanish interregnum did not occur, we would have all been Muslim. That is true, for when the Spaniards arrived, most of the powerful polities in Mindanao, and the rulers in Manila were all Muslim. But unlike the Spaniards who used the power of the cross and the sword, the Islamic conversions were mainly for economic reasons, since most of the merchant partners of the datus were Muslim—and Islam then was a very missional (albeit, progressive) religion. It was here that when the Spaniards saw the strong sultanates of Mindanao and how they stubbornly refused to be subjugated, the Spaniards began calling these people collectively as “Moro,” a term (unbeknownst to most Filipinos today) that hails from the long history of Spanish ethnic cleansing in their Iberian peninsula, when in their Reconquista, they defeated all the Muslim emirates in Spain and tried to erase from their historical memory the enlightened Muslim Moorish heritage that built the beautiful palaces of the kingdoms of Toledo, Cordoba and Granada. It was just logical that the Spanish conquistadors would choose the term “Moro” to refer to all Muslims in Filipinas, who they would call negatively as juramentados.
The term Moro with its loaded meaning unfortunately caught up with our history as down through the ages, from the American imperialist experiment in the Philippines to the time of Filipino politicians, these collective peoples in Mindanao, marginalized, alienated and misunderstood, even fellow Filipinos would call them Moros. It was time then that the peoples themselves used the term in a positive light, an expression of their self-determination and sovereignty as peoples of a shared identity and historical circumstance. They began calling themselves “Bangsa Moro” or the Moro nation. Which is why it is so controversial and promising that the same term would be used in the territory that used to be the ARMM. That’s what makes today’s event, the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro is so significant.
As Muslim mothers and warriors cried in Malacanang in tears of joy, the whole weight of history hangs on us. For the first time in Philippine history, a marginalized people who for the longest time fought for their right to self-determination, exasperated, even adhering to secession from the Philippines, was listened to, acknowledged, and promoted with dignity. A silenced people has been given a voice they can call their own. It is an experiment that has been carefully studied, with all the stakeholders having their own say on their shared destiny. For as Leon Ma. Guerrero said when referring to Rizal’s vision of the Filipino Nation, it must be an entity that is not Spanish, nor Catholic, but that which shares “mutual responsibility” and “respect.” Finally the longest conflict in Southeast Asia is ended. We pray for its success and for the peace and healing of the lands wounded by war and despair.
Together with the rest of the Filipino Nation, on this momentous occasion, we rejoice with our Muslim brothers, acknowledging our faults and weaknesses, and offering our hand of peace, for we are all, in God’s eyes, Filipinos.
Cheers to the Bangsamoro and for the lasting peace in Mindanao!
(Infographic, courtesy of GMA News)
Super typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), the strongest storm in recorded history, recently hit my country, the Philippines, displacing and devastating thousands in the Visayas region. They are currently in dire need of relief goods, assistance, and monetary donations.
If you are able, please consider making a donation of at least 10 US dollars (about 400 Philippine pesos) via Red Cross Philippines or Habitat for Humanity. Once you do this, you can screenshot your confirmation page, submit it to me and request any kind of graphic you’d like, and I will make it for you. I make graphics mostly for BBC Sherlock, but I will happily do ones for Elementary, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Marvel, or any universe you would like.
Reblogs would be greatly appreciated to spread the word. Thank you very much!
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For even more opportunities to help:
REPOST (AS OF NOV 13.):
Given the surge in number of volunteers in NROC, there are no more slots available this week for volunteering in the NROC drop-off point for DSWD (https://twitter.com/dswdserves).
But there are other groups that need your help—both helping them pack and giving in-kind/cash donations. We’ve listed a few to help you out:
1) DSWD satellite in Ateneo in partnership with Ateneo DReaM Team and Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
Shifts: 8-11am, 11am-2pm, 2-5pm, 5-8pm, 8-10pm
Venue #1: LS College Covered Courts, Ateneo de Manila, QC
Venue #2: Richie Fernando Covered Courts (near Loyola House of Studies), Ateneo de Manila, QC
For inquiries, you may send a message directly to the SLB Secretariat (https://www.facebook.com/katotoo)
2) Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez (https://www.facebook.com/ferdinandmartin.romualdez.1/posts/457193541065396)
Venue: Brgy. Valenzuela’s Covered Court, Tanay corner Hormigo St., Brgy. Valenzuela, Makati City
Directions: From Ayala, take JP Rizal jeep, after City Hall, just along Pililia St., ask for Valenzuela Covered Court or Sports Complex. Landmark is Makati City Hall.
3) Philippine Red Cross
Shifts: 8am-2pm (Shift 1), 2-8pm (Shift 2), 8pm-5am (Shift 3)
Note: Only 50 volunteers can be accommodated per shift. Kindly text 09175385446 or tweet @lynvgarcia for your schedule.
Text format: Name, Preferred Shift Schedule and Date, Number of volunteers who will join
Ex. Lyn, Shift 3, Nov 12, 10volunteers
Venue: Philippine Red Cross, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila. 524-2101
4) Hands on Manila
Until Friday, November 15
Venue: Army gym, Fort Bonifacio Taguig City (map: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151815701804482&set=a.85585234481.80763.80263279481&type=1&theater)
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hands-On-Manila/80263279481
5) U! Happy Events
Packing of goods is underway at Victory Liner, E. Rodriguez compound, QC (beside Jubilee Christian Academy - http://goo.gl/maps/CFRRu)
But no update yet on following days. Kindly check their page for announcements (https://www.facebook.com/uhappyevents)
TYPHOON HAIYAN RIPS THROUGH CENTRAL PHILIPPINES
Typhoon Haiyan is a Category 5 storm, the strongest typhoon of 2013 and said to be the “most powerful ever” to make landfall (with winds near 195-200 mph). Perspective: Superstorm Sandy was at 95mph when it hit New Jersey; Hurricane Katrina at 129mph when it hit land.
- Pre-emptive evacuations affect more than 161,000 families or more than 790,000 people in 37 provinces
- Typhoon Haiyan as seen from space
- Haiyan makes 6 landfalls - it affected an island chain in the central Philippines, making landfall in six islands. It gained wind power as it traversed through waters in between.
- Haiyan traverses areas affected by magnitude 7.1 earthquake - The earthquake left more than 200 dead dead on October 16; 1000 injured; 350,000 displaced. The survivors have been living in tents and evacuation areas. It passed through Leyte, Samar, Cebu (2.5 million residents), among others—some of which are the poorest provinces in the country.
- 100 people killed in Tacloban — first estimate of casualties in the city reported today, November 9. Because the communication lines are down, the news centers have yet to take stock of the full extent of the damage. But the numbers are still expected to rise. The devastation was described as if a tsunami had wracked through it.
- 2:03PM 11/9: An estimated 4 million people have been affected by the typhoon
- 4:20PM 11/9: 90% of Baco Town in Oriental Mindoro flooded
- 4:55 PM 11/9: Bodies still scattered in Leyte as Visayas in shock
- 5:19PM 11/9: Negros Occidental under a state of calamity
- 7:34PM 11/9: Local officials expect the number of bodies found in Tacloban to reach 500
- eta: 7:45PM 11/9: Iloilo and Palawan declare state of calamity
- eta: 8:04PM 11/9: Update: 134 reported dead
- eta: 8:30PM 11/9: Thousands homeless in Ormoc, Leyte
The victims need all the help they can get. Cities have been leveled, buildings made of concrete were destroyed by strong winds and storm surges. Communications have yet to be reestablished in most of the areas affected by the typhoon. The full picture left behind by Haiyan has yet to be established yet the devastation reported on television is already extensive. The government is bracing for large-scale relief operations. Virtually 1/3 of the country has been ravaged by this natural disaster. And we need help.
HOW THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAN HELP
- donations via the Philippine Red Cross (including PayPal)
- donations via Habitat for Humanity
- donations via ANCOP Foundation USA
- eta: donations via UNICEF Philippines
FOR THOSE IN THE PHILIPPINES
- text donations via Globe
- Red Cross and DSWD relief operations (infographic)
- list of ongoing relief operations via Rappler
- donations via ABS-CBN News
- eta: relief operations via University of the Philippines
- eta: relief operations via the Department of Education
- eta: pick-up locations for donations via Air 21
HOW TO FILE FOR MISSING PERSONS
Please reblog and add other details I might’ve missed!