Sulu Sultanate wants out of Bangsamoro core territory
13 May 2015
JOLO, Sulu — The Royal Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo proposed that they be excluded from the core territory as envisioned in the Bangsamoro entity under the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and instead be considered as an autonomous region.
During the public hearing of the BBL here On Wednesday, Datu Albi Julkarnain, voiced the concerns of the royal datus, royal princesses, and traditional leaders of the Sultanate on the proposed law.
“We seek the exclusion of the ancient realm of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo from the territorial jurisdiction in the proposed Bangsamoro entity as envisioned in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law. It is our collected desire and preference for the Sultanate to be created under an act of Congress as another autonomous region separate from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),” Julkarnain said.
Julkarnain argued on the historical perspective of the issue, saying that the Sultanate has not been colonized by any foreign powers and that it has been recognized internationally by other nations.
He also said that the Sultanate predates the establishment of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America.
The Sultanate said that despite the historical injustice that it has experienced, it remained subservient to Philippine laws.
“Notwithstanding all political injustices committed against us…we remain law-abiding, passive and then we did not resort to use of force against the Republic of the Philippines to reclaim our historical statehood ever since we were unjustly disposed of our independence, sovereignty and sacred homeland,” Julkarnain said.
The Datu said that when current version of the draft BBL is passed, it would degrade the Sultanate as a mere “political subdivision” of the new Bangsamoro entity, diminishing its historical roots.
“With the imminent passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Sultanate of Sulu and Northern Borneo faces the most demeaning and unfortunate prospect to be reduced to just be a political subdivision in view of a new political entity which has no factual and legal foundation in history, in relevance to the Sultanate,” the datu said.
“It would be a terrible degradation and gross violation of our political heritage and historical prominence and distinction as the first sovereign nation in this part of the globe,” he added.
With their proposal on the table, the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo said that they do not desire to be viewed as “spoilers of peace.”
“We are one in the search of peace however, our modes to achieve peace is different from the MILF. We appeal to the national government to never consider us as spoilers of peace in so far as we want different modes as stated in the BBL,” spokesman for Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo Abraham Idjirani said.
Excluded from negotiations
During the hearing, the representative of the Sultanate decried that they were excluded during the making of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law.
“All these people presenting talk about their opinion (about the Bangsamoro Basic Law) but I never heard (anyone) talking about the Sulu Sultanate, when in fact the Sulu Sultanate is known internationally. The Sulu Sultanate was not given any chance to talk to any forum,” Julkarnain lamented.
This has been affirmed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government.
“There has been an observation that during the process of negotiating the Comprehensive Framework Agreement and then the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Sultanates were not consulted at any point in the process,” Marcos said.
The senator said that on May 25, the Senate will hold a hearing which will enable the sultanates in Mindanao to air their side on the BBL.