From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 9): Sultan follower in Sabah territory claim dies in Tawi-Tawi jail
A sickly follower of the Sulu Sultanate who was arrested for allegedly taking part in the Sabah intrusion last February died in the provincial jail of Tawi-Tawi Thursday night.
Haiber Jailani, 62, died of a “lingering illness” in detention in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, said Abraham Idjirani, the secretary-general of the sultanate.
Jailani was part of the 200-member Royal Security Forces of the Sulu Sultanate who sailed to Sabah on February to press claim over the territory.
According to Idjirani, Jailani fell ill after drinking contaminated water in Tanduo village in Lahad Datu, Sabah. He and several others were arrested by the Philippine Navy while trying to escape during a clash with Malaysian troops in March.
“The sultanate is dismayed by the failure of the PNoy administration to show equal humane sympathy by failing to address his medical treatment,” Idjirani said.
He said Jailani’s relatives were scheduled to pay his bail along with 21 other co-detainees next week.
The group was first held at the Bato-Bato Navy Yard before being transferred to the Tawi-Tawi.
“Jailani died without seeing his liberty. He was imprisoned for his patriotic act to live in peace in an ancestral land gifted to the Sultan of Sulu in 1704,” Idjirani said, referring to Sabah, which the sultanate claims as part of its ancestral territory.
Led by Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, the sultanate’s “royal army” sailed to Sabah on February and clashed with Malaysian security forces leaving 68 Filipinos dead along with 68 Malaysian policemen and soldiers.
They are the descendants of the two brothers, Mamalu and Tabunaway, who once settled in what was “Maguindanao”, now Cotabato City. They only parted ways after the Moros accepted Islam while the IPs especially the T’durays stuck it out with their traditional belief. However, before they separated, they pledged unto each other to cooperate both in times of distress and plenty, a covenant they hold on to this day.
The only time that troubles erupted between the two communities was in early 1970s. But the violence was not a large-scale one. Most members of their respective communities remained uninvolved. This was the heyday of the so-called “Ilagas” or “rats” or “fanatics” led by Commander Toothpick (real name: Feliciano Luces) who rallied the T’durays against the Moros. They killed hundreds to thousands of Moros in Mindanao from 1970 to 1972. But the sad part of it is that the conflict was not homegrown, rather it was instigated by outsiders. Toothpick was an Ilonggo from the Visayas in the central part of the Philippines, who was used by the prime movers of Martial Law to create troubles, as part of the justifications for its declaration in 1972. Toothpick was merely used; in a sense, he too was also a victim of evil machination.
As blood brothers, the Moros and IPs have one ancestral domain in the Bangsamoro. It is not two, contrary to what a new batch of outside “whisperers” are trying to tattle into the ears of some IP groups.
What is intriguing is that these people do not bring their crusade into areas outside of the Bangsamoro where the IPs and their ancestral domains are set aside completely. Look at what is happening to the B’laans of Tampakan in South Cotabato where a mining company is not only polluting the environment especially the rivers and lakes but virtually driving them away from their homes and farmlands.
There is no way we can separate the ancestral domain of the IPs from the Moros and vice versa. They are inseparable, as there was only one Moro Province before, so named after the Moros.
Unfortunately, there was none named after the IPs, who were considered by the Moros as their “small brothers” --- always under the protective shield of their “elder brothers”. They always belong to the same world; fate has destined it that way.
Perhaps, what can be delineated are ancestral lands, because among them are tribes, for instance, Maranao ancestral lands, Tausog ancestral lands, Maguindanao ancestral lands, so on and so forth. Even so, this cannot be absolute. A Maranao can own a land in Sulu, as a Tausog can possess land in Lanao, or Maguindanao can hold land in Tawi-Tawi.
Since the start of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation in January 1997, the MILF has consistently opposed any reference to the Indigenous Peoples Republic Act (IPRA) as mode of determining or settling of land issues in the Bangsamoro. The law is so lop-sided and detrimental to the collective rights of the native inhabitants over their ancestral domain, because only the surface of the soil is conceded to the IPs, while all what is beneath it are taken away or virtually owned by outsiders mainly mining companies. This opposition is soaked in blood of Moro martyrs, who carried on their armed struggle for more than four decades. But even minus IPs’ major starring role, their Moro brethren did it against all odds, which is why the MILF is not a pushover in the negotiating table.