Revisiting the Narrative of Bangsamoro with Dr. Potre

The Policy Research and Legal Services (PRLS-BTA) was fortunate to have Bangsamoro’s very own Dr. Potre Dirampatan-Diampuan, Ph.D., who delivered a fascinating virtual lecture on the History of the Bangsamoro. The lecture was threefold: (1) Bangsamoro Ethno-linguistic groups and identity, (2) Narratives of the Muslims in the Philippines: A Historicity, and (3) Chronicle of Muslims affairs in the Philippines.

In the first session, she introduces, as she dubbed, the 13+1 Bangsamoro Ethno-linguistic groups and identity (Badjao, Iranun, Jama Mapun, Kalagan, Kalibugan, Palawani, M’ranao, Malbog, Sama, Sangil, Tausug, and Yakan plus the Balik Islam group), and their intra-faith and intra-cultural diversity that have shaped the past of the Muslims in the Philippines at present, citing “While we engaged in Interfaith, we need also to work in Intra-faith (Dialogues).” Then she connected it to “History to Policy” where she stressed, “learn from the past as a way to move forward for the better Bangsamoro” further expressing that we are the product of social events of the past that are beyond our control, or Dejala (you are already there).

In the second session, Dr. Potre dubbed the Narratives of the Muslims in the Philippines: A Historicity as “A full semester in a four-hour lecture.” For this part of the Philippine Muslim history, we have witnessed both notable movements and tragic accounts that greatly contributed to the present Bangsamoro:

  • The stages of Spanish-Moro wars highlighting the Moro’s principality and inevitable resistance against Spanish subjugations; “If the national heroes became heroes because they fought for freedom, we should also be (considered) as heroes for not only defending but fighting till the Japanese time.”
  • The Moro problems, mainly the derogatory representation of the Spaniards of Moro identity. Dr. Potre cited, “The Moro-Moro stage play: only on stage that the Spaniards defeated the Moros.”
  • The discriminatory land laws against the Moros by the Spaniards, the introduction of land reforms that are derogatory to Muslims; the denial of royal titles by the Philippine government, and the Filipinization and Moro disbarment.
  • The Pre-Martial law tragedies: the Jabidah massacre and the Ilaga massacres/movements that triggered the Bangsamoro movements. What makes these atrocities worst, as Dr. Potre adhered, is the no regard from the government as well as the no actions and no recognition of the numbers of atrocities against Muslims; and
  • The Muslims in the Philippines at present, where she accounts the (a) the various responses of the Muslims to the abovementioned atrocities and (b) the establishments of Muslim communities in Metro-Manila in the 1970s. Historicity simply means separating facts from false narratives which includes the collective authentic works from our recent scholars. It answers the question of why the Muslims in the Philippines are being less regarded in policymaking.

Lastly, in the Chronicle of Muslims affairs in the Philippines, Dr. Potre explored the evolution of Muslim affairs, from the colonial period, American colonization, and the Philippine rule, highlighting, among others, the enactment of Presidential Decree 1083 (PD1083) also known as the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines. This, on the other hand, answers the question of what the challenges are and lapses of Muslims in running a government.

As a synopsis, Dr. Potre concluded that the present Bangsamoro government has a set of opportunities and challenges. Opportunities in a sense that we can still change and correct our previous shortcomings, and challenges in a way that we need to meet the BARMM’s vision of uplifting the Bangsamoro’s lives and governing ourselves through moral governance. She ends her lecture by saying “It is up to us if we make the difference” and “let’s continue courting the government… we are trying to help in nation-building while trying to make the government understand (our aspirations).”

“It is up to us if we make the difference” and “let’s continue courting the government… we are trying to help in nation-building while trying to make the government understand (our aspirations).”

Potre D. Dirampatan Diampuan, Ph.D.

The lecture was so timely, first, the BARMM celebrates its third founding anniversary anchored on the theme “Changing people’s lives: Transforming the Bangsamoro,” and second, the PRLS is currently in partnership with the Ministry of Local and Interior Government (MILG) on LGUs trend of the Supreme Courts’ Mandanas-Garcia ruling and devolution of LGUs functions.

Watch the recorded lecture on our youtube channel: https://youtu.be/ZRdDUVilqrY

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