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Marcos, Sabah, and the Origins of Moro Secessionism


Academic year: 2023

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Four years have passed since it was signed, but no progress in resolving the claim has been visible. And in July, the public admission of Foreign Affairs Secretary Narciso Ramos – that the demand was inconsistent with Article I, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution – helped ease tensions between the two countries. Arula came out as the sole survivor of the alleged massacre of Muslim students, thereby revealing to the public the Oplan Jabidah, the code for the project.

The slaughter of the latter groups by their superiors must have been triggered by the discovery that they were spies, so the perpetrators were acquitted in a military trial in 1971.


This accusation of genocide would feature in the secessionist groups' propaganda campaign, making it the main reason they rose up against the government, finding sympathy in the form of direct Malaysian involvement that would subsequently take place. As the conference in Bangkok approached, the press in Sabah was unrelenting in its criticism of the Philippines (Noble 1977). Tun Mustapha, the chief minister of Sabah, claimed that Kuala Lumpur had been betrayed by Marcos on his promise not to pursue the claim in exchange for Malaysian aid in curbing smuggling.

The Sabah finance minister mocked the Filipino clamor to bring the dispute to the World Court, saying that what they could not get through plebiscite because it would falter, they want to get it through the World Court, further appealing done on the Sabahans to be vigilant amid possible Filipino infiltrators. Political associations and parties have announced their rejection of the demand, stating that they will stand behind any government moves. While Rahman accused Marcos of acting in bad faith, Malaysia in turn began to directly interfere in the affairs of another nation by inciting the anger of the Filipino Muslims and providing them with logistical support for their dreams of secession. to offer.

Aquino's speculation that Arula was a double agent, which Marcos also alleged when he accused him of being a paid Malaysian agent, could point to this. Who first carried out the espionage and infiltration among their ranks is unclear, but it could point to the Malaysians who had disputed territory that needed to be protected. As the largest coup in Philippine history, as seen by others (Tiglao 2013b), the Corregidor “Massacre”.


The trainees would fight for the independence of Mindanao to divert the attention of the Philippine government from the Sabah claim. The first four weeks, beginning on June 17, were a long wrangle over procedural matters exacerbated by technical difficulties, alleged foul play, delays in the arrival of documents from Manila, and the incompetence of the Philippine delegation (Noble 1977). Back in Manila, the debacle was met with accusations of incompetence on the part of the Philippine representatives, which were resolved only by the timely rescue of Guerrero.

Given the loophole in the 1961 Tolentino Resolution, which did not include Sabah and was initiated by the Malaysians in Bangkok, the Philippine Congress passed a law defining the foundations of the Philippine Archipelago to include the territorial sea around Sabah (Javier 1968b; Senoren 1968). ; Patanñe 1968). The British reported diverting six RAF Hunter aircraft flying over Sabah instead of the usual direct flight. The claim was not dropped, but Malaysian newspapers assumed it was.

Lucmans and Aquino were old political allies; the former was a founding member of the Liberal Party. Why would Aquino, a government official, salute the would-be rebels against the government he was sworn to serve, even though he was on the other side of the fence? Prior to the statement, Aquino flirted with members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA), offering them moral, logistical and financial support.


Less than two weeks before martial law, Aquino, speaking to two American officials, “believes that President Marcos intends to remain in power indefinitely and that his own chances of becoming head of government with legitimate means are slim. Thus, he may at some point in the future be willing to associate himself with the Communists as a leader of the revolution if he believes that this is the best way to realize his ultimate political ambitions. What this unfolds from the alleged massacre in Corregidor, of which the Liberal Party made a great scandal, and from their relationship with Malaysia.

Aquino's ambition would come to a point where he would sacrifice national interests for his own benefit. According to Lucman, Misuari sold to the Malays the weapons of the Lanao military unit for the amount of P700,000 in 1973 (Lucman 2010). With Lucman on the sidelines, Misuari assumed command as chairman of the MNLF, the name he proposed in 1970, which was rejected.

Members of the central committee were Abulkayir Alonto as vice chairman, Jamil Lucman, nephew of Rashid, as chief of staff, Hashim Salamat and others. Are the Malays trying to erase their and Lucman's participation in the genesis of a Moro uprising from the public eye by supporting Misuari as head of MNLF?


At the international level, Rahman was responsible for the internationalization of the Moro problem in Mindanao as Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1972 (Che Man 1990). The Philippines insisted on getting compensation to the sultan's heirs first before dropping the demand (US Department of State 1974d). Lahad Datu was identified as one of the training sites along with Banguey in Sabah.

It was in Kuala Lumpur that the June 1974 OIC meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held where the OIC demanded regional autonomy for the Muslims and negotiations with Bangsa Moro leaders led by Misuari (Che Man 1990 ; Abbas 2003). He argued that the dropping of the claim must first be preceded by the willingness of the Malaysian side to end its involvement in MNLF (US Department of State 1975b). Barbero, went to Tripoli to negotiate with the MNLF, resulting in the creation of the Tripoli Agreement.

Here Marcos announced that his government would take steps to remove one of ASEAN's burdens: the claim (Republic of the Philippines 1977; Marcos 1977). However, Romulo Espaldon, Admiral of the Philippine Navy, claimed in October that Malaysia was hugging the Muslim rebels by providing training and base camps in Sabah (Samad and Abu Bakar 1992). Mahathir pushed for the claim to be dropped and denied receiving any communication from Marcos about the claim (Foz 1982).

The economic disruption in Sulu and Mindanao was acutely felt by Filipino Muslims who were caught in the middle of the war between the Muslim rebels and the Philippine government. The sporadic attacks by the MNLF during anti-government encounters in Marcos' final years could only mean one thing: that the Malays continued to be the conduit for the supply of arms and ammunition to the Muslim rebels.


We are still paying the heavy price of the Malaysian intervention that has made Sulu one of the poorest provinces in the country. The principle of self-determination cannot be invoked without first settling the sultanate's property claims and the sovereign rights of the Philippines. The revocation of the transfer to the Philippine government in 1989 by the current sultan was not only unjustified, but also lacked any legal basis.

The MILF has no interest in Sabah, while Misuari has recently realized that Sabah should be included as part of the conflict resolution. He was previously part of the conspiracy, as he himself admitted in an interview with Al Jazeera, to disrupt the settlement of the claim (Pedrosa 2013). Misuari was created to be known as the founder of the separatist movement, MNLF.

Dealing with the MILF rather than the MNLF tipped the balance in favor of the Malaysians, who wanted at all costs to deny the claim by the Tausugs and the Philippine government. Manangkayan, the local name of the Spratly Islands, was within the territory of the Sulu Sultanate. If not for Arula, could there have been a successful settlement of Sabah's claim.


First, we must recognize the true colors of Malaysia as the one that caused the subordination of the claim and the dissension among Muslims, and its dishonest pretensions to peace, the next steps towards the self-determination and development of the people of Mindanao started , Sulu and Sabah. As a footnote on why Marcos did not heed his 1977 ruling to drop the Sabah claim, Foreign Affairs Minister Arturo M. We agreed that as a quid pro quo for the announcement that I was going making, that he would see to it that Sabah would stop being a training ground for rebels in Mindanao as a departure point for arms smuggling to the Philippines.

These promises have not yet been fulfilled and so we cannot yet fulfill our commitment.” Marcos has been firm in his approach to Sabah since 1973: that Malaysia must first stop supporting the Moro rebels before giving in to their demands. Although he was an astute, even shrewd tactician in foreign affairs, he was mistaken in the selection of men who could have successfully carried out his plan to invade Sabah, and was unable to anticipate the Malaysian intervention and prevention. What he wanted to happen in Sabah happened in Mindanao and Sulu, thus becoming his headache for years to come.

Online, http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/bangsamoro-people-will-return-to-homeland-1.204367, accessed 3 Apr. Declaration text delivered to the 125 member nations of the UN General Assembly during its 23rd session, New York, Tuesday 15 October.

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