the Philippines


Manila, Luzon




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The cry for a separate state

Unrest on Mindanao

Last ten years the Philippines was several times world news because of several kidnappings and bomb explosions on  several different locations. Almost all explosions happened in the southwestern part of Mindanao. It is the region where almost all people are Muslim.  

Several organized Muslim groups were all the time responsible for the troubles. The Muslims (Moro's)  wanted all ready for a long time an independent Muslim state.  

The origin of the name "Moro".

As soon as the Spanish colonizers in the sixteenth century discovered that on Mindanao and the islands south of Mindanao the Filipinos were Muslims, they  gave them the name "Moro". That was the name they gave already to the Muslims they had to conquer centuries ago in the country Spain itself.


The struggle for independency

The strategy of the organized Muslim groups was to conquer the Philippine government by armed attacks and placing bombs on different places. In this way they tried to convince the Philippine government that the Muslims had to be given an own state. 


Last years there were regular kidnappings. The kidnappings were used, still in 2002, as an instrument to 'collect' huge amounts of money. The money  is used to buy  weapons and is used for the 'way of living' of the active members of the organizations. The Abu Sayyaf group, the most radical group, is still active with kidnappings.  


An Autonomous region in stead of total independency

Two of the biggest Muslim groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)  and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) decided to sign a peace treaty agreement. They agreed with a special form of autonomy in stead of a total independency.  The government promised to start development programs for the autonomous region. The Autonomy, since 1996, meant that the Muslims in the region now can make their own  decisions on several maters in their region. 

An Autonomous Muslim Region!

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao consists of four provinces. The autonomous area is almost 12000 square km large. It is situated in the Western and southern part of Mindanao plus the Sulu and Waki-Waki island groups. The autonomous region is about 4 percent of the total area of the Philippines and has in 2002 more than 2.1 million inhabitants. Almost all Muslims

Source: NSO 1997-2002


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