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Friday, 22 May 2015 08:33

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

Instead of claiming Zamboanga City as their exclusive domain by some Mindanaoan tribes which aim to self govern, they should exclude City of Zamboanga from their territory, for many reasons not only cultural, historical, religion or ethnicity. There are more reasons deeply rooted than the above mentioned reasons.    Foreign conquest that brought religion and other customs to Zamboanga City has never affected the present warring tribes who claim that they were driven out of Zamboanga City and were dislocated, because they were never here after all. Spanish chroniclers account from the Spanish archive state about two people they saw and found when they landed at “Caldera Bay” popularly known as “Cawa-Cawa” to the natives. The historic chronicle says that the Spaniards found “ghost-like” dark people in the sea shores and river people whose houses with tall posts raised from the ground and without stairs, lined the big river that cut through the land up to the shoreline of “Caldera”. This historical account by many national and local historians confirmed the Spanish account. Recently it was found out that those “ghost-like” people were called “Sama-Lutaos” and those river people were “Subanens”, all pagans and animists. From their ethnic name itself, it connotes their identity, “lutao” for ghost and “suba” for river. This historic account can never be questioned unless some groups will change history.

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Zamboanga City has its own history, distinct and differrent from the very beginning like those of the Sultanate of Sulu, Rajah Kabunsuan and Sultan Kudarat, who are Arab missionaries that landed in Cotabato River and they say a brother Arab missionary who was left behind in Simunul Islands. Admittedly the Arab missionaries arrived earlier in Mindanao, but their influence were mostly confined to the southern islands that were deeply rooted until today. There is no written record as to why they did not expand their influence to the Zamboanga Peninsula when the Spaniards were not yet in the Peninsula, only lately it is claimed that the natives in the Peninsula (from stories of old Subanen tribesmen) that the natives were not only pagans and animist but allegedly cannibals, like many pagans in Asia and Africa. With guns and cannon, the Spaniards drove off the natives deeper into the jungles and landed in the shoreline and established their camp in Zamboanga City, bringing with them subjugated natives from Cavite and the Visayas. This account is known to almost all pioneers in the city.

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There is one historical account coming from the  Rajah Kabunsuan camp in Central Mindanao, who is now an Islam faith believer, that he established contact with a relative in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Datu Tukan Dakula I, who co-existed their leadership with a Subanen Datu Beng Imbing, historically known as the Kumalarang Sultanante. They have long traded with Chinese merchants long before the Arab missionaries and the Spaniards came. As an evidence of this trading with the Chinese, only in the areas of Kumalarang, Lapuyan, Malangas and Margosatubig that one can find Chinese antique jars, plates and jewelries made in gold and silver. When Datu Tukan Dakula embracedIslam, Datu Beng Imbing separated from the Kumalarang Sultanate and established his own domain in the highlands of “penolis”. For one reason, “pork” is a subanen food found in the jungles of the Peninsula. Datu Dakula and Datu Beng, separated their ways peacefully and remained as friends.

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Nobody has the right to solely own and influence the city. Leave Zamboanga City alone peacefully to lead its people to their own destiny and future. The Philippine government, President Pnoy Aquino II, members of the Peace panels, Congress should not intimidate Zamboanga City and ram the throats of Zamboaguenos, be they Muslim or Christian a provision in the BBL for a possible inclusion of the city which they have never dominated since time immemorial. Why not instead give Metro Manila and some parts of the Visayas to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) territory because Rajah Sulayman established his influence in Tondo, Manila and Datu Maricudo in some part of Cebu? Why put more interest in Zamboanga City when those cities mentioned are wealthier and powerful than Zamboanga City? Zamboanga City is purely Christian Catholic city.  Islam believers were very peaceful in the city. Never attempt to destroy the peaceful relationship of Christians and Muslims in the city becase they co-exist happily all these years and never attempt to radicalize the peaceful Islam believers in the city. You might be lighting the fuse of a  powder keg, long dormant and ready to explode.

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Scoop: Remember “El Cid” Mr. President.