(By: dinggol araneta divinagracia - Ilonggo Nation Movement)
Long before "Kamikaze" zero fighter planes hovered over the horizon during the last stages of ww2 and even much earlier before todays "Jihadist" martyrs resorted to suicide bombings; our Muslim brothers in the south, fighting to defend their cultural identity and to preserve their religious patrimony had already instilled fear in the heart of the infidels --because of the brave and determined "Huramentados".
It took the invention of Colt 45's knocking power during US war of conquest in Mindanao at the turn of the last century, led by Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, to neutralize waves of attack by these fanatical moro holy warriors.
In the 1950's --with the governments "Land for the Landless" program during the CIA-backed Presidency of Ramon Magsaysay, a great number of Christian settlers from Ilocandia; the Hukbalahap veterans of Central Luzon; and the Ilonggo-Cebuano Bisayans emigrated to the "Land of Promise".
Thereafter, an uprising that broke out in 1948 with a few hundred men led by Tausog leader "Kamlon" of Sulu escalated into a full blown rebellion. After the loss of so many lives and destruction of so many properties, but due they say, to old age he just faded into oblivion. Others believed his close friend Jose "Bano" Escribano, the Ilonggo Mayor of Tacurong, Cotabato later was able to appease the brave old Muslim Rebel.
Peace reigned in Mindanao and the multinational giants; Dole Philippines, Firestone Rubber Company, Etc. were later established that generated jobs by the thousands. Earlier B.F. Goodrich started operations in 1919, Del Monte through a subsidiary in 1925, and Goodyear in 1929. These big companies then owned lands by the thousands of hectares.
Going back to the government transistion period in 1935. Commonwealth Act No. 141 was signed into law by President Manuel L. Quezon --Section 84 declared all ancestral lands in Mindanao as public lands.
The Moros and other ethnic groups were deprived of lands once owned by their ancestors. A Moro may own only 4-hectares; a Christian settler was allowed to own 24-hectares while Filipino Corporations of up to 1,024-hectares.
The smart alecks, both foreign and local were then able to legally convert ancestral domains into dynastic corporate empires and they became the new breed of oligarchy --the modern day illustrados that eventually controlled the economy and political scene in Mindanao.
In the early 1960's --massive rampage against families of peaceful Christian settlers in the south were systematically conducted by the "Black Shirts" and later by the notorious "Barracudas"; the group of Muslim seccessionists under the Muslim/Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) formed by Datu Udtog Matalam in Central Mindanao.
To protect themselves, these early Christian settlers led by the magnificent seven (7) Ilonggo Mayors of Central Mindanao organized themselves into what turned out to be the most dreaded "anti-moro" group of them all the "ILAGA" (Ilonggo for Rat). The Ilaga group was founded sometime in September of 1970, in Cotabato City, by Ilonggo Mayors, namely: Nicolas Dequiña of Midsayap, Wenceslao Dela Cerna of Alamada, Pacifico Dela Cerna of Libungan, Bonifacio Tejada of Mlang, Conrado Lemana of Tulunan, Jose Escribano of Tacurong, and Esteban Doruelo of Pigcawayan.
Col. Carlos B. Cajelo of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo aided by Capt. Manuel Tronco of Janiuay nurtured the Ilaga Movement.
Feliciano Luces with nom-de-guere "Kumander Toothpick'; an obscure simple and peaceful farmer from the Province of Antique, later became the most dreaded Ilaga leader of them all. He and his minions of followers, believed they were invincible by the power of "Anting-anting" or amulets they wear. With the group of Norberto Manero, Jr. of Janiuay, Iloilo, his wife Leonarda "Kumander Inday" Lacson; the brutality pertetuated by these Ilaga members in treating their adversaries gained them utmost notoriety.
In the 1972 election, Col. Carlos B. Cajelo defeated Datu Udtog Matalam as Governor of Cotabato in Central Mindanao; and served as the longest elected governor of the province for 12 years.
During the late 1960's, the clandestine "Operation Merdeka"; Malacanangs' grand plan to destablize and take over Sabah from the Malaysians, using the Jabidah Special Forces was concieved. Maj. Eduardo Martelino of Kalibo, Aklan an articulate and dashing Army officer of the Office of Civil Affairs under the DND was tasked to head the core group that planned and implemented the project. He was a graduate of the Infantry School in Fort Benning in the U.S. and the Defense Information School of the U.S. Armed Forces, the precursor of the psychological warfare school of Fort Bragg. Maj. Eddie Martelino then settled in Simunol Island in Tawi Tawi, Sulu; purportedly converted into Islam as "Abdul Latif"; married a young local lass and named after her the recruitment and training camp for Jabidah Special Forces - "Camp Sofia".
In March of 1968, the massacre of at least 23 Jabidah trainees on Corregidor island for the Sabah Mission sparked another Muslim rebellion and gave birth to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by University of the Philippines Professor Nurullaji "Nur" Misuari and other young Muslim Intellectuals who disregarded the traditional muslim elitist leaders.
Once again, the south turned red in the ensuing battles between government forces and the MNLF. To supplement the AFP, Malacanang directed the creation of the dreaded "Lost Command" composed mostly of undesirables and para-military groups of ilonggo mercenaries under the command of Col. Carlos Palabrica "Ladi" Lademora of Iloilo. Col. Lademora's Lost Command exploits in unorthodox guerrilla warfare that was feared not only in Mindanao; was dismantled after the Marcos regime.
In the early 1990's, Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani of Basilan, whose ilongga mother was from the town of Miag-ao in the Province of Iloilo became the principal founder of the Abu Sayyaf Group, a radical Muslim organization with links to Al Queda. He was a student of a fundamentalist imam in a Muslim community in the Christian city of Zamboanga when he joined the mujahaddins to fight in Afghanistan. When he died in an encounter a few years ago, his brother Kadaffy took over leadership of the ASG but was also allegedly killed later.
Today, history repeats itself in Morolandia. News report confirms the on-going war that sadly reveal AFP tragic soldiers on the losing end not necessarily because of inferior armaments but mainly due to series of error in judgement committed by their superior military officers. It likewise, exposed the suspected ulterior motives of some high ranking local government officials for economic advantage. Thus, Senate Probe in this regard is in progress.
But what is alarming, are reports that US Special Forces in full combat gear were sighted within the war zones which is contrary to and in violation of the existing U.S.-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement or VFA.
Skeptics say, we may not have enough black gold or fossilized oil deposit to warrant foreign intervention. But perhaps, the rich "Deuterium" deposit, the fuel of the future that is in abundance beneath the ocean floor of the Visayan Seas that connects to the Mindanao Deep could be the magnet to justify the next venue of a full scale war against global terrorism in Mindanao.
(Source: INM Banwa_Mo eGroup -August 20, 2007)