From the Mindanao Standard Today (Aug 3): Kiram: Sultanate areas not part of Bangsamoro
The Sulu Sultanate has rejected the inclusion of its ancestral territories to the planned Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, saying the government had no right to turn them over to a political entity controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Abraham Idjirani, spokesman of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said the Sulu Archipelago comprising Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga and Palawan were owned by the sultanate.
“The subject of turning over the Ancestral Kingdom of the Sultanate of Sulu in the Sulu Archipelago to the MILF defined under the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement will prejudice its historical truths and patrimony,” Idjirani said.
“This is notwithstanding the political truth that these territories were the same territories defined in the 1996 MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front]-GRP Accord signed by President Ramos and MNLF Chairman Nurullaji Misuari.”
Idjirani said transferring the sovereignty of the Sulu Sultanate to the MILF-controlled region was “technical treason.”
The Sulu Sultanate, a close ally of Misuari, made the statement amid the MNLF’s threat to establish an independent republic in Mindanao even as Malacañang said no Muslim groups would be left out in the establishment of the new Bangsamoro region.
Idjirani said the government was treating the Sulu Sultanate like a “hotcake” that would soon be handed over to the MILF without prior consultation with sultanate officials.
“Under what authority, therefore, did the officials and authorities of the PNoy administration discard the protection of the Sultan of Sulu and its ancestral kingdom in the Sulu Archipelago?” Idjirani said.
He said the Sulu Archipelago was part of the territories Spain ceded to the United States by virtue of the Treaty of Paris signed on Dec. 10, 1898. In 1935, the US government had those ancestral territories incorporated into the Philippines.
Despite the vehement objection of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s great ancestors to join the Philippines as an independent State, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his nine living brothers and sisters and all other Kiram heirs embraced Filipino citizenship without qualifications, Idjirani said.
“The Bangsamoro Framework Agreement is a legal mechanism to proclaim the greatest grabbing of their [the sultanate’s] ancestral land by both the Philippine government and their Muslim brethren in the MILF, just like Sabah by Malaysia, a Muslim state,” Idjirani said in describing the MILF-GRP peace pact signed last year.