My Legal Point
By Atty. Bayan G. Balt
The most respected Muslim educated researcher, Dr. M. Saber wrote on the Maranao’s struggle for freedom and independence, as thus,
“Reputed as brave and skillful fighters, the past and recent Maranao ancestors were either defenders of a homeland attractive to external invaders, or invaders themselves. The Maranao were able to maintain their independent nation under the pangampong organization for over 250 years through stiff resistance (typified by Sultan Kudarat) to Spanish military and spiritual campaigns. Amai Pakpak continued the struggle between 1891 and 1895 against expeditions sent by Governors Weyler and Blanco. Left virtually unconquered, the Maranao had a more formidable opponent in the Americans. Under Pershing scores of kotas were attacked and captured, resulting in heavy casualties. During the Japanese occupation, Major Datu Busran Kalaw led the united resistance movement. (MAMITUA SABER Philippine Sociological Review Vol. 27, No. 4, October 1979, Published By: Philippine Sociological Society)
The name Maranao is synonymous to struggle for defending this country against foreign invaders with a heroic role in revolting against Spain, that started in Northern Mindanao in Iligan city in 1897, likewise the Maranaos fought the US 37th Cavalry forces in the Battle of Bayang locally known as the Padang Karbala, as an instance of Moro resistance against imperialism and colonization of the United States and as a proof of ethnic nationalism. In September 1942, the Maranaos engaged the Japanese forces in the Battle of Tamparan, and dealt the Japanese a stunning loss when, in a spontaneous attack, a collection of villagers armed primarily with blades nearly annihilated an entire company of Japanese infantry. The Battle of Tamparan was the gravest defeat inflicted on the Imperial Japanese Army by irregular forces in the Philippines and quite likely their greatest loss at the hands of civilians in the entire course of the Pacific War. (Thomas McKenna, The Moro Warrior)
For 250 years, the great Maranao nation defended this country against foreign invasion which thus, deserves the recognition of the Manila’s set of powers. “If there is a group of people in the country that will be given special privilege, it is the Moro Muslims” says, the late Maranao lawyer Macapanton Y. Abbas, Jr., simply “the Moro Muslims plays a very important role in defending this country against foreign invasion”, Lawyer Abbas further says.
In return of its heroic role, the Maranao deserved a separate regional government or an Autonomy free from external control, within the context of the Philippines Constitution and the United Nations charter. Unfortunately, the Maranao which used to be an independent nation serves the national and BARMM regional government for being unrepresented or underrepresented, in sums, it become a vassal state of the BARMM regional government, whose role is to serve and pledge loyalty to others Moro tribe. The political situation shamefully downgrades the status of the great Maranao nation who used to be the Panoroganan but now a subject of another tribe.
Some Maranao pundits opined that the time has been reached for the Maranao to chart its own destiny, thru a separate regional autonomy to effectively regain her special place in Philippine society.
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Atty. Bayan G. Balt is past chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015), and Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement, (RFSM).