Clemencio Montecillo Bascar was a former Professor and Vice President for Corporate Affairs of the Western Mindanao State University. He is a recepient of various local, regional, and national awards in songwriting, playwriting, poetry, and public service. Several of his poems had been published in international literary magazines and journals such as, Foliate Oak , BRICKrhetoric, About Place, Torrid Literature, Mused-theBellaOnline Lietrary Review, and The Voices Project. He had written and published by the Western Mindanao State University two books of poetry, namely; "Fragments of the Eucharist" and "Riots of Convictions." In the Philippines, some of his poems appeared in the such magazines as Women's, MOD, and Chick.
At present, he writes a column in the Zamboanga Today daily newspaper and resides at 659 Gemini Street, Tumaga, Zamboanga City, Philippines. He is married to the former Miss Melinda Climaco dela Cruz and blest with three children, Jane, Lynnette, and Timothy James.
PH COLONIZED MINDANAO AND SULU BY LAW
Both as a former academician and as an ordinary citizen, it is my personal analysis and unbiased appreciation that the following historical events and facts constitute the major valid reasons why Mindanao and Sulu should either be decolonized by the United Nations, returned by the United States of America to their respective inhabitants, or be restored as two sovereign states by the Republic of the Philippines on account of the irrefutable truth that it colonized Mindanao and Sulu by law having enacted the QUIRINO-RECTO COLONIZATION ACT OTHERWISE KNOWN AS LEGISLATIVE ACT 4197 of 1935 during the Commonwealth period under the Presidency of Manuel L. Quezon.
Personally I find it wrong for the Philippine government to just create a micro political entity by act of Congress as a peace offering to quell the armed struggle for self-determination originally launched by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), then taken over by its breakaway faction, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and now pursued by another breakaway faction, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), because what were dispossessed were two sovereign Sultanates distinct, separate, and independent from each other. It is analogous to a cattle rustler caught stealing red-handed two cows but is only willing to return a leg to their respective owners.
Virtually, this is how the Philippine government has been negotiating as a political settlement for the demand of the inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu for the return of their stolen homelands, a glaring and unmistakable indication of its unwillingness to return two state territories to their original owners.
In my previous academic discussion I boldly posited some historically based arguments why it is politically wrong for the Philippine government to just create a micro juridical entity as a full settlement for the two ancient monarchies that were unilaterlly incorporated to the body politic of the Republic of the Philippines when it was finally granted self-rule by the mother country, the United States of America, on July 4, 1946 pursuant to the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Law providing for a 10-year transition period. Here are the major ones:
(1) Maguindanao (Mindanao) and Sulu were sovereign, independent, and internationally recognized Sultanates distinct and separate from each other;
(2) as independent and sovereign monarchial states, they were not conquered, colonized, and Christianized by Spain although some coastal areas fell under its control;
(3) yet, despite the fact that these two Sultanates were not colonial possessions of Spain, they were furtively included in the techinical description (coordinates) defining the terrorial limits of the Philippine Islands, the Spanish colony which was sold and ceded by Spain to the United States in Article III of the December 10, 1898 for $20-million;
(4) the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao were not parts of the Spanish Colonial Government of the Phlippines Islands (Filipinas) which was composed of the territories in the Visayas and Luzon that were either conquered, colonized, and Christianized or had voluntarily submitted to the sovereignty of Spain by virtue of blood compacts or other modes of territorial transfer and possession. This Spanish colony which was named by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos "Las Islas Filipinas" in 1544, was in honor of Philip of Asturias, the Prince of Asturias at that time who eventually became King Philip II of Spain. This is the reason why the inhabitants of the islands which fell under the Crown of Spain at present carry the Filipino citizenship.
(5) the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao, recovered all the areas that the Spaniards were able to conquer and occupy when all their regiments were ordered withdrawn because of the outbreak of the Filipino revolution against Spain at Pugad Lawin, Manila, on August 23, 1896 leaving only the outpost in Zamboanga (Fort Pillar)which was captured by the Revolutionary Army under the command of Gen. Vicente Solis Alvarez who was also the first President of the Zamboanga Republic on May 18, 1899; after the surrender of Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo and his entire revolutionary army, the Spanish colonial government was faced with a mightier enemy than the war of insurrection led by Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo who was already exiled to Hong Kong together with his trusted and loyal officers after receiving Four Hundred Thousand Pesos (P400,000.) which was half the total amount promised by the Spanish colonial government for his surrender, when the United State officially declared war with Spain on April 25, 1898.
(6) on May 18, 1899 following the capture of the biggest Spanish fortress in Mindanao, Fort Pillar, the last Spanish Governor General, Diego de los Rios surrendered the sovereignty of Spain over Mindanao and Sulu and all the other areas of the Philippine Islands which were not turned over to the United States by Spanish Governor General Fermin Jaudenes folllowing the Mock War of August 13, 1898 for the capitualation of the City of Manila, to Gen. Vicente Solis Alvarez in accordance with ethics and law of war which to me is the true date of independence from the Crown of Spain. This occurred a day before (May 18, 1899) when the American forces sneakily landed on the island of Jolo which started the unlawful occupation of Mindanao and Sulu on May 19, 1899.
(7) when Spanish -American War was declared in April, 1898 , it was the Americans who convinced Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo who was then in exile in Hong Kong to return to the Philippine Islands to continue his revolutionary struggle and to help them win the war against the Crown of Spain with "all sorts of generous offers" which Gen. Aguinaldo eventually agreed and accepted only to be betrayed when his reorganized revolutionary army was not allowed to participate and was kept in the dark about the secret negotiations for the "sham battle" for capitualation of the City of Manila;
(8) when General Aguinaldo proclaimed independence on June 12, 1898, it was not recognized by Spain nor the United States ; the coverage of this declaration was limited to the eight provinces which revolted against Spain and not the entire Philippine Islands; Mindanao and Sulu being two separate, independent, and sovereign states were not, even in the wildest imagination, parts nor allies of the Aguinaldo revolutionary government;
(9) when General Aguinaldo declared war with the United States on February 4, 1899 which was triggered by the first shot fired by Pvt. William G. Grayson, an Englishman, the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu already recovered all the territories previously occupied by the Spaniards and were completely free from any threats of Spanish conquest and colonization;
( 10) having recovered their respective territorial domains, the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu recovered fully their statehood and independence from the Crown of Spain before the outbreak of the Philippine-American war and were not allies of the First Philippine Republic which declared war against the United States on February 4, 1899. Hence, the Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu by virtue of the fact that they were not colonies or possessions of Spain, were not parts of the theater of war between Spain and the United States as authorized by the American Congress, and were not also parts of the theater of war declared by Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo as President of the First Philippine Republic against the United States.
These are the historical events and facts that the United Nations Committee on Decolonizatio should take into serious consideration in pursuit of its declared mission of decolonizing colonial countries and peoples which is now entering its third decade of implementation popularly perceived as biased for or under the dictate of the super rich and powerful countries while insensitive and doing practically nothing for the weak and poverty-ridden indigenous peoples still under the thoes of colonialism.
For the Philippines, let me reiterate my assertion that it is guilty of colonizing Mindanao and Sulu by law on account of the Quirino- Recto Colonization Act otherwise known as Legislative Act 4197 passed in 1935 during the Commonwealth period under the presidency of Manuel L. Quezon which has a very striking similarity with the manner by which the Americans dispossessed the indigenous peoples' lands described aptly by Lindsay Robertson as "Conquest by Law."