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The Rationale of Warfare’

American troops in pacification campaign in Lanao, Mindanao Islands, 1902-1915 (Archive)


“For those too young to understand what ‘War’ meant: War is defined as a state or period of fighting between countries or groups.”

In this definition from a Merriam-Webster dictionary, when a head of state declares war, it becomes the law. It transcends all laws including suspension of rights, whatever that means, for the sole purpose of overwhelming an enemy and in this case, defeat criminals in the illicit drugs trade on the War on Drugs.

The declared war on drugs also confuses with other wars of equal significance, like the War on Terror, mostly to deal with Muslims and Marxists. But that sort of Wars of ‘another’ kind is being addressed as we speak; one pursued in Malaysia deal with the War versus the Muslims, and in Oslo, Norway, to restart talks with the Communists. In both spectacles, the state is clearly pursuing ‘political accommodations’ and the state, by conscripting foreign intermediaries, certainly should mean opening up to international law, or international arbitration.

The Mindanao War that I should be insisting about is the form by how war should describe just as how Merriam-Webster defines them, like the part that says war resulting from opposing states or countries. This is how I should mean we do not entirely know how war meant, when the necessity should arise that we begin to understand them, as much as saying the Mindanao War is forty-seven years old, and importantly, a state-sponsored infractions. Thus, other states are involved in the 47-year fracas in which case, the United Nations by her mandate makes it hers to explore on the strength of her charters.

Can the state make similar pronouncements this war in Mindanao brought so much misery, made us so poor for 47 years?

Not to mention people in diaspora, perennially displaced people, which was 600,000 in 1974, asylum seekers in Sabah, Malaysia, now probably to number a lot more, maybe a million or so?

We can’t say what happened to us in Mindanao is ‘cry over spilt milk’ as something that the state or their actors to say ‘time to move on’; that is not what international criminal justice system says; according to international law, the war in Mindanao is an issue to do mostly with war crimes. And a war crime tribunal may be compelled to hear them by virtue of our having passed the Rome Statute in 2011.

Furthermore, I see our war problems three ways: (One), deal with how we can to usher in political accommodation, ex. The Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the MILF and the Marxists, now in Oslo, Norway, finding means to end decades-war with the Communists.

(Two), criminal prosecution of people behind government responsible for atrocities in the Mindanao War, and (three), the War on Drugs should not be confused with the other issues. All three issues impel the formation of a war crime tribunal on same premise and argument we passed the Rome Statute in 2011.

The Mindanao War triggered in the infamous 1968 Jabidah Massacre incident involved three countries. Philippines in 1968 plotted to invade Sabah, Malaysia, which was a violation of international law. It also involved foreign generals from Indonesia who collaborated with the Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. who also in this incident, violated the 1935 Philippine constitutional laws.

American troops in pacification campaign of what is now Overton, Iligan City (1900s) on way to Lanao. Mindanao.

Retrospectively, the crux of why there is war and for reasons why the Moro people resist redound to simply defending against criminal behavior in government. Our criminal justice system given the refractory chain of events since the 1968 massacre incident dubbed ‘Jabidah’ has floundered for two reasons; Philippine government herself is flailing for one, for her failure to crack deeper in the mayhem of ‘interest groups’ wanting to continue covering up root issues. And two, for the international criminal justice system incredibly ‘un-perturbing’ for 47 years since the 1968 massacre incident that actually was the trigger to the unending Mindanao war, in itself seriously compromising international law.

Heretofore, seeing our president flaunting more than a century old picture of massacred Moro people in Sulu by Americans in 1906 in a major policy speech addressing an international event, would in my perception mean the president is liking deeper scrutiny of the Mindanao war by the international community:

Or he could be provoking serious tussle with the United States of which we know is unwinnable. In either aspect, the whole picture to me is way out of place to be totally honest.

For propriety, let me argue along wars we Mindanao Muslims have to fight ‘resisting against’ for centuries; beginning with the Moro-Spanish war, the trigger to me was the killing of an envoy of the King of Spain in 1521 by a taxman of the Sultan of Sulu and ending more than three hundred years later, in a treaty called the 1899 Bates Agreement. Which as we know, precipitated the Moro-American War from 1902 and ending in a truce around in the year 1915 or thereabout.

In both events spanning centuries, the Sultanate of Sulu reigned, one in 1521 obviously ‘Moro warrior-led’ skirmishing killing an envoy of Spain and also the Sultan of Sulu, as signatory to a treaty in 1899 with the Americans, in a treaty called the Bates Agreement. In both events, the Sultanate of Sulu dominated leading as dominant leaders of then the ‘Moro Mohammedan people’ of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan territories.

Should the president find much of these events peculiar and interesting, pointing blame in the killings in a massacre incident in Sulu and elsewhere in the Moro territories, it is rightly the 1899 Bates agreements that should ‘own up’ meaning the Sultan of Sulu signatory to the 1899 agreement should share blame with the Americans and therefore, it is international law that the Philippine president should be able to pursue and shouldn’t be unnecessarily bashing people without cause, it is appropriate behavior doing so for the mayor as head of state.

And aptly so too, it is international law that should arbitrate to hopefully also end our unending warring in Mindanao because of the 1968 Jabidah massacre incident, which was an international incident.

The Moro Mohammedan people accepted offer of truce by the Americans in 1915 because of education and American democracy end Moro-American War.


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