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.
DRAFT PETITION TO THE UNITED NATIONS C-24
AN OMNIBUS PETITION OF THE TRI-PEOPLE (LUMADS, MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS) OF
MINDANAO AND SULU ADDRESSED TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION OR C-24, EARNESTLY AND FERVENTLY PRAYING FOR IT TO INCLUDE THEIR ANCESTRAL HOMELANDS IN THE LIST OF NON- SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES TO BE DECOLONIZED WITHIN THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL DECADE (2011-2020) FOR THE ERADICATION OF COLONIALISM IN ALL ITS FORMS AND MANIFESTATIONS PURSUANT TO THE U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 1514 (XV) OF DECEMBER 14, 1960 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE DECLARATION ON THE GRANTING OF INDEPENDENCE TO COLONIAL COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES.
WE, THE TRI-PEOPLE (LUMADS, MUSLIMS, CHRISTIANS) OF MINDANAO AND SULU, HEREBY COLLECTIVELY AND EARNESTLY PETITION THE HONORABLE AND DISTINGUISHED 24-MEMBER SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRAYING FOR IT TO INCLUDE OUR SUBJUGATED AND COLONIZED HOMELANDS IN THE LIST OF THE REMAINING NON-SELFGOVERNING TERRITORIES AND THEREAFTER, TAKE PROMPT AND SPEEDY ACTION OF DECOLONIZING THEM BASED ON THE FOLLOWING HISTORICAL JUSTIFICATIONS AND PREMISES:
WHEREAS, long before the Spaniards arrived in the Visayas on March 16, 1521, Mindanao and Sulu for hundreds of years, had already been internationally recognized as de facto and de jure Sultanates; Sulu Sultanate was established on November 17, 1405 with Sayyid Abu Bakr as first Sultan based on the latest historical documents discovered; the establishment of Sultanate of Maguindnao followed about 70 years after in 1475 by Sharif Muhammad Kabungsuan in Buayan, Cotabato;
WHEREAS, the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao, as internationally recognized sovereign and independent monarchial states even antedated the establishment of the Federal System of Government of the United States by more than Three Hundred Years based on its 1787 Constitution and ahead of the Republic of the Philippines by more than Four Hundred Years based on the date it was granted independence or self-government by the United States on July 4, 1946;
WHEREAS, the Sultanates of SuLu and Maguindanao as internationally recognized sovereign and independent states had commercial and diplomatic relations with the United States, China, Brunei, and other Asian and European countries as evidenced by the treaties it entered into; one in particular was the SULU-U.S. TREATY OF 1842 for the promotion of trade and commerce between these two contracting states;
WHEREAS, as early as 1369, the Sultanates of Sulu and Maguindanao already sent diplomatic and trade missions to China. As specifically documented on page 591 of the widely circulated reference book, Filipino Heritage (The Making Of A Nation) in 1726 a significant diplomatic mission of Sulu is highlighted in the following account:
" According to the China annals, in 1726 during the reign of the Manchu Emperor Yong Ching, the Sulu Sultan Muhammad Badar Ud-Din, sent a memorial to the emperor with tribute. The same Sultan again sent tribute the next year. It consisted of pearls, turtoise shells, weapons, mats, cloth, monkeys, bird's nests, etc."
WHEREAS, as confirmed and attested by internationally renowned and highly respected authors and historians, such as Vic Hurley, Robert A. Fulton, Gregorio F. Zaide, Peter Gordon Gowing, and Florence Horn (to cite a few), Mindanao and Sulu were not conquered by Spain and therefore, not her colonial possessions. In support of this historical fact, Dr. Onfre D. Corpus, former Minister of Education and Culture and author of the book, "Saga and Triumph" (The Filipino Revolution Against Spain), copyright 2002, page 1, states:
"Hubris led the Spaniards to claim Muslim Mindanao and Sulu as part of Filipinas, although Spanish sovereignty was never effective there, except in Zamboanga where they maintained a forward outpost against the Muslims."
WHEREAS, even the United States as evidenced by two treaties it signed with the Sultanate of Sulu, namely; the Bates Treaty of August 20, 1899 and the Carpenter Memorandum of March 22, 1915, also confirmed that Sulu and Mindanao were not conquered, colonized, and Christianized by Spain; these two diplomatic documents in several provisions unequivocably admitted and confirmed that the Sultanate of Sulu was not a colonial possession of Spain by virtue of conquest and assured the reigning monarch that his domains will not be sold to any country without the consent of the Sultan, an irrefutable evidence that he was still recognized as head of state months and years after the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris was concluded between Spain and the United States;
WHEREAS, when the City of Manila was capitulated by Governor-General Fermin Jaudenes to the Americans a day after the conduct of that secretly-scripted Mock War on August 13, 1898 for such purpose despite the fact that a peace protocol was already signed ending all hostilities between these two warring countries, shortly after, a series of negotiations followed in Paris for the final turning over of the Philippine Islands to the United States as a spoil of the 1898 Spanish-American War;
WHEREAS, the Spanish peace commissioners vehemently refused to consider the Philippine Islands as a spoil of war because what took place for the capitulation of the City of Manila was only a widely-documented Mock War; they argued that relinquishment of their colonial possession would not take place without a price. So the United States had to offer TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS for the sale and cession of the Philippine Islands;
WHEREAS, while what was supposed to be sold and ceded to the United States by Spain under Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris, was only the Philippine Islands, the technical description of the territorial limits as drawn by way of coordinates, Sulu and Mindanao which were not colonies of Spain by conquest, were trickily included; worse, it was done without the knowledge and consent of their respective reigning Sultans, Councils of States, and adherents. The Encylopedia of Philippine Arts, Vol. II, described this anomalous commercial and diplomatic transaction between Spain and the United States in the following manner:
"The Muslims did not know that the Treaty of Paris which had ceded the Philippine Archipelago to the Americans, included their land as well."
WHEREAS, when it was discovered that some islands were missed out in the technical description defining the territorial limits of the Philippine Islands, the coordinates were altered and re-drawn leading Spain and the United States to sign another Treaty in Washington D.C. on January 7, 1900 for the inclusion and relinquishment of the groups of islands of Cagayan de Sulu and Sibutu which for centuries belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu. For this diplomatic and commercial transaction, Spain received an additional amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS;
WHEREAS, when the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris was signed between Spain and the United States, the warriors of Mindanao and Sulu were still in the thick of the fight against the colonial forces who eventually succeeded to recapture and beleaguer the areas which were once occupied by the Spaniards until the higher authorities in Madrid ordered the total withdrawal of all the colonial forces in January 1899 leaving only the besieged garrison in Jolo which was already scheduled to be turned over to the Sultan of Sulu like what was done earlier with the Spanish garrison in Siasi;
WHEREAS, if at all there was any vestige of conquest or sovereignty by Spain over Mindanao and Sulu, this was totally terminated when the last Spanish Governor-General, Diego de los Rios surrendered to Gen. Vicente Solis Alvarez, Commanding General of the Zamboanga Revolutionary Army composed of the Los Voluntarios, Los Deportados, and the native warriors following the capture of the biggest fortress in Mindanao, Fort Pilar, where De Los Rios together with all the remaining colonial forces desperately put up in vain their last defense of Spanish sovereignty over the Philippine Islands. Governor-General Diego de los Rios formally turned over the sovereignty of Spain over Mindanao and Sulu and all the others areas of the Philippine Islands not yet occupied by the American forces to Gen. Vicente Solis Alvarez on May 18, 1899 in strict adherence to and accordance with the ethics and law of war. The warriors of Mindanao and Sulu already recovered all the areas that were once occupied by the Spaniards and were completely free from all threats of Spanish conquest before the sneak arrival of the American forces in Sulu on May 19, 1899 who opportunistically accepted the turn over of the Spanish garrison in Jolo supposed to be turned over as planned to the Sultan of Sulu;
WHEREAS, under the Law of Conquest, the surrender of the last Spanish Governor-General Diego de los Rios on May 18, 1899 to General Alvarez, the First President of the Zamboanga Republic, re-conveyed all the areas that were once occupied by the Spaniards to us, inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu, thereby regaining our full partrimonial rights, statehood, independence, and sovereignty from the Crown of Spain, and made clear the fact that Mindanao and Sulu were not integral components of the First Philippine Republic under the Presidency of Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo which declared war against the United States on February 4, 1899. We, the tri-people inhabitants of Mindanao and Sulu were not also involved in any manner, either overtly of covertly in the Spanish-American War of 1898. In other words, while we were fiercely engaged in a war of resistance against Spanish conquest for more than 300 hundred years and succeeded, we maintained a hands off policy and neutral military position with respect to the Spanish-American and Filipino American wars. Any allegation, suspicion or speculation about the possibility of our forces striking tactical alliance with the revolutionary forces of Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo against Spain or the United States, was absolutely without historicity and empirical basis;
WHEREAS, despite the fact that Mindanao and Sulu were not colonial posessions of Spain, not covered by the declaration of war authorized and issued by the American Congress against Spain and all its colonies, and not even by anyone's wildest imagination, an ally of the First Philippine Republic established by Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo which declared war against the United States on February 4, 1899, the American forces proceeded with the invasion of the Sultanate of Sulu on May 19, 1899 and in December of same year also the Sultanate of Maguidanao (Mindanao) without any formal declaration of war issued by the American Congress as required in Article I, Section 8 of 1787 U.S. Constitution, to wit:
"No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in times of peace, enter any agreement or compact with another state or with foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit delay."
WHEREAS, shortly after the unlawful invasion of Mindanao and Sulu by the American forces and realizing that Spain in fact and in truth did not acquire sovereignty over our two ancient monarchies by virtue of conquest, President William Mckinley who also personally entertained doubts about Spanish claim of sovereignty over these two Sultanates, promptly directed Gen. Elwell Otis, the comannding general of the American expeditionary forces in the Philippines to forge a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu that would explicitly acknowledge American sovereignty over Mindanao and Sulu. This diplomatic mission was assigned to Gen. John C. Bates who according to historian-researcher Peter-Gordon Gowing succeeded but not without extreme difficulty for the Sultan gave all sorts of excuses including feigning sickness just to avoid forging any treaty with the United States. However after a couple of months of persistent, relentless, and consummate diplomatic pursuit of General Bates which reportedly involved the employment of coercive and intimidating tactics, the Sultan eventually succumbed and signed conclusively under duress, a document which came to be known as the Bates Treaty of August 20, 1899 which only turned out to be an official document confirming that the Sultanate of Sulu was still a sovereign and independent state of equal political status as the United States and was not a colony of Spain by conquest. Pertinent to this matter, prior to the actual conduct of this diplomatic mission, Robert A Fulton, an eminent American historian and author wrote the following historical account in his book entitled, "American Military Occupation of Moroland, May 1899- August, 1903":
"Preparing for their mission, Bates and his staff scoured the Spanish archives in Manila and discovered that Spanish sovereignty had in fact been no more than a myth and a contrived fiction. Of greater significance, it was dubious Spain had ever the right under international law to cede the lands belonging to the Moros as part of their landholdings in the Philippine Islands. This discovery prompted Otis to revise Bates mission to one of gaining acceptance of U.S. sovereignty by the various Moro peoples, and pledge for them to stay neutral during the fighting to come, a daunting task."
WHEREAS, the Bates Treaty did not only officially acknowledge that the Sultanate of Sulu was still a sovereign and independent state at the time it was signed by the heads of states of both contracting parties, but also contained dispository provisions that its territorial domain was not sold and ceded to the United States by Spain as parts of the Philippines Islands in Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris, to wit:
"Article IV- While the United States may occupy and control such points in the archipelago of Jolo and public interests seem to demand, encroachment will not be made upon lands immediately about the residence of the Sultan, unless military necessity requires such occupation in case of war with a foreign power; and where the property of the individuals is taken, due compensation will be made in each case.
Any person can purchase land in the archipelago of Jolo and hold the same by obtaining the consent of the Sultan and coming to a satisfactory agreement with the owner of the land; and such purchase shall be immediately registered in the proper office of the United States Government.
Article XIV- The United States will not sell the island of Jolo or any other island of the Jolo archipelago to any foreign nation without the consent of the Sultan."
WHEREAS, the Americans using the Bates Treaty to assume territorial possession and sovereignty over Mindanao and Sulu, several unilateral and arbitrary political acts of subjugation and colonization followed which clearly violated certain provisions of the Bates Treaty and the 1787 U.S. Constitution, among which were the junction and organization of the Mindanao and Sulu as one military district, the creation of the Moro Province by virtue of the passage the Philippine Commission (PC) Act No. 787 and the establishment of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu pursuant to the Philippine Commission Organic Act # 2408. All these political entities created by the Americans were administered separately from the insular government of the Philippine Islands, attesting to the fact that Mindanao and Sulu were not really parts of the Spanish colonial territory called Filipinas or Philippine Islands. Finally, in 1920, the administration of Mindanao and Sulu was high-handidly transferred and integrated into the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes of the Philippines which were in clear violation of Article IV, Section 3 of the United States 1787 Constitution which states that:
"New states maybe admitted by Congress into this Union; but no new states shall be formed or created within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states without the consent of the states concerned as well as the Congress."
Whereas, to attain the ultimate objective of placing the Sultanates of Maguindanao (Mindanao) and Sulu under the total and absolute political control of the Americans several years after the unilateral abrogation of the Bates Treaty by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on March 2, 1904 in gross violation of its preamble which stipulates that any future modifications of said treaty should only be done upon mutual concent by the parties in interest, the Sultan of Sulu, Mohammad Jamalul Kiram II, under circumstances of coercion, intimidation, and force was made to sign another diplomatic document known as the Carpenter Memorandum of March 22, 1915 which divested him of his temporal powers without respecting, much less taking into consideration, that under the Islamic Doctrine of Statehood, the ecclesiastical and temporal powers of the Sultan are one and indivisible, unlike the principle of separation of Church and State governing democracy-founded political systems in many Western countries such as the United States of America;
Whereas, in earnest pursuit of our collective preference for Mindanao and Sulu to be made a permanent American territory and to express our strong and vehement opposition to our integration or incorporation into the Philippine Islands, in 1924 Sultan Jamalul Kiram signed a document entitled, " DECLARATION OF RIGHTS AND PURPOSES" which was placed on official record of the United States Congress in 1926 and gained widespread support but eventually was totally ignored constituting another violation of our rights to due process and self-determination as essentially stated, to wit:
" ... that in the event that the United States grants independence to the Philippine Islands without provision for our retention under the American flag, it is our firm intention and resolve to declare ourselves an independent constitutional sultanate to be known to the world as the Moro Nation."- Congressional Record, 1926, 8836.;
Whereas, in a parallel move to prevent our eventual annexation or incorporation into the body politic of the Philippines under the its 1935 Constitution as mandated by the Tydings-McDuffie Law otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act of 1934 providing for a 10-year transition period from Commonwealth Government to the grant of full independence on July 4, 1946, a historic assembly of more than 100 Maranao leaders passed a strongly- worded manifesto on March 18, 1935 known as the Danasalan Declaration addressed to the United States President vehemently opposing the annexation of the Moro homeland to the Republic of the Philippines. Disappointingly, however, like the Declaration of Rights and Purposes signed by Fifty Seven (57) Sulu Muslim leaders in 1926, the Dansalan Declaration suffered the same fate of not being given due attention, merit, and process by the United States who is reputed globally as the mother and paragon of democracy;
Whereas, even before the 1935 Constitution was finally approved which totally depended on Article III of the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris in defining the National Territory of the Republic of the Philippines as self-governing state, the National Assembly of the Philippine Commonwealth under the Presidency of Manuel L. Quezon passed the Quirino- Recto Colonization Act otherwise known as Legislative Act #4197 which was irrefutably a blatant and overt act of transforming Mindanao and Sulu into colonies. This, and many more legislative acts that followed declaring our ancestral lands in Mindanao and Sulu as public lands of the Philippine Commonwealth are factual vestiges, manifestations, and forms of colonization as defined and contemplated under the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution on Decolonization I5I4 (XV) of December 14, 1960 and currently under the judicial jurisdiction and implementation of the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24;
NOW THEREFORE; knowing the fact that the United Nations General Assembly Special Committee on Decolonization or C-24, has not included Mindanao and Sulu among the 17 remaining non-self-governing territories to be decolonized during its implementation of the Third International Decade (2011-2020) for the Eradication of Colonialism in all its vestiges, forms and manifestations, we the Tri-people (Lumads, Muslims, and Christians), presently inhabiting these two ancient monarchial territories for reasons, circumstances, and premises enumerated above, hereby earnestly, solidly, and jointly petition the United Nations General Assembly's Special Committee on Decolonization or C-24 to include Mindanao and Sulu among the non-self-governing territories and thereafter, for it to take due diligence and prompt action to decolonize our dispossessed and still presently colonized, highly-marginalized, economically impoverished, and gravely war-damaged ancestral homelands.
To be singed by the petitioners once adopted.