It’s been 27 years since the Edsa People Power, a time when we all hoped for the best.Â Where has that spirit gone?
Has that “Proud to be a Filipino” tagline, gone beyond lip service?
Has that popular mantra translated to a country where the rights of its citizens is upheld and its citizens know the value of that right.
We celebrate the “freedom” born of the Edsa People Power but the oldest of issues and the nagging question of Sabah has constantly been a grim reminder that such freedom is nothing but skin deep.
Imperial Manila has long neglected the problem of the South since colonial times and have contributed to the abuse of the ancestral lands that our Muslim brothers and sisters hold sacred.
What has happened since Sultan Esmail Kiram I ceded SOVEREIGNTY RIGHTS to the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES on September 12, 1962, as well witnessed by President Diosdado Macapagal?
There was “Operation Merdeka” which gave us the Jabidah massacre, where as much asÂ much as 60 Tausug and Badjao AFP recruits were executed by machine gun by their military handlers.Â Military personnel were court-martialled but no justice was ever meted out.
The legacy of the Jabidah massacre is the volatile situation in Mindanao and Sabah.
Over 60,000 deaths and over Php 76B of taxpayers money has been spent fighting the war in Mindanao since 1970.
Many Tausugs and Badjaos are displaced because of the war in Mindanao, the situation compounded by the EXCLUSION of SOME Filipino Muslims in the ongoing peace agreement.
Compromising the people living in Sabah through the same perpetual problems will be nothing but pure arrogance.
The best option had always been to stress the right over Sabah at international tribunals, the heirs of Sultan Kiram I has given the legal right to pursue claims at international courts but WHY was none pursued after the Macapagal and Marcos administration?
Then again, legalizing the annexation of Sabah at an international tribunal is a two edged sword. With the cost of the peace and standard of living of the inhabitants of Sabah, arises the question whether PH can sustain the $75B biofuel revenue and use that to upgrade mainland PH or will Sabah be just another Tawi-Tawi and Jolo and that billions from the years of R&D will be just another “savings” for our beloved politicians to use according to their whim?
What good will the property be, if it doesn’t uphold our humanity?
Let’s put a face on the Sabah issue.
Take the time to know this child and others like him in this documentary of News TVs’ Reel Time, “Batang Halau”. Watch the award winning* docu by clicking at this link.
Understand why our Muslim brothers and sisters are leaving and what fate awaits their children in a land that doesn’t know them and a country that doesn’t recognize them as their own.
For the sake of this child and many others like him, the stakeholders should reach a compromise agreement to serve all vested interest.
â€œOur liberty will not be secured at the sword’s point… We must secure it by MAKING OURSELVES WORTHY OF IT. And when the people reach that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.â€ Over a 100 hundred years since this was written by Jose Rizal in “El Filibusterismo” and 27 years since the Edsa People Power yet its meaning seldom do we understand.
*Batang Halau won the 2012 Migration Advocacy and Media Award for Best TV Show.
Mula sa Reel Time: Batang Halau:
“Kasalanan nga bang mangarap ng isang maliwanag na hinaharap?
Halau o itinaboy sa salitang Bahasa-Malay. Wala silang anumang dokumentong makapagpapatunay sa kanilang pagkakakilanlan bilang Pilipino o Malaysian man. Sila ang mga musmos na ipinanganak na at nagkamuwang sa Sabah, Malaysia – ang bayang kinagisnan na nilang tahanan.
Pero paano kung ika’y di kilalanin at ipagtabuyan ng bayan mong sinilangan?
Walang pagkakakilanlan. Walang tumutugon sa kanilang karapatan. Lumalaki silang mangmang. Malabo ang kinabukasan.”
“Kamusta na ang mga Batang Halau”, an update on how the children are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_10cWVmEP5Y
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