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The Discrimination of the Bangsamoro people: A continuing saga of national oppression
Muslims all over the world has to face up a heightened hatred and discrimination in the post 9-11 era. Anti-Muslim sentiment and prejudices is hyped in the so-called campaign against Global Terrorism. The Bangsamoro, the Muslims in the Philippines, cannot escape this reality and is doubly feeling the brunt of this hatred and discrimination because of its existence as a marginalized minority nationality.

Discrimination of the Bangsamoro people is felt in manifold expressions in all dimensions of the social, political, cultural and economic spheres of our national life. It is a nightmare that is experienced in an almost daily basis. The term Muslim is disparagingly used in media with derogatory connotations. The Muslims are the usual suspects and fall guys in almost all criminal and “terroristic” incidents. Muslim students are forced to abandon religious customs to comply with discriminatory policies of educational institutions. Some Muslims in the Metropolis even has to hide their true identities by assuming Christian names in order for them to get a job or rent an apartment or be accepted in dormitories or boarding houses. And so on and so forth, the list goes on without end.

These are shared experiences of the ordinary Moro. But discrimination against the Moro people does not discriminate its victims; even Muslims who are already placed in high and respectable positions in government service are not spared from these discriminatory acts.

The case of Dr. Jamail A. Kamlian, a Ph.d. and currently serving as Vice Chancellor of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology is a glaring manifestation that discrimination against the Moros of the Philippines is very much in practice and spares no one. Even after having paid an initial down payment, Dr. Kamlian was denied the right to purchase and own a lot in a subdivision in Cagayan de Oro City for the simplest yet most absurd reason of his being a Muslim. It is said that the Real Estate Company who owns the subdivision and is said to a subsidiary of the Real Estate Empire of Honorable Senator Manny Villar, Jr., has a standing policy not to sell real estate properties to Muslims. This is discrimination in its vilest form and grandest proportions.

We condemn this incident as a blatant act of discrimination against the Moro people. We strongly support the quest of Dr. Jamail Kamlian for justice to the violations committed against his person. We call on the Moro people to unite and rally the cause against discrimination and bring this issue and other related incidents to the halls of Justice, to the Congress and even to Malacanang. We will lobby for policy intervention, legislative measures or mechanisms that will look into recurring discriminatory practice against the Moro people and penalizing those found guilty of committing such acts.

We will raise the issue of discrimination against the Moro people to all fora and arenas of our struggle if only to put sands in the wheels of continuing national oppression; for what more can be the grandest act of discrimination against the Bangsamoro people than the long-standing denial of the Philippine government to its right to self-determination?

Metro Manila
October 8, 2002