Ninoy Aquino and Muslim Struggle in Mindanao


Last week, August 21 was holiday that most of our present generation does not really know or care why it was a holiday. Some are saying that they know Ninoy Aquino as the father of our President Noynoy Aquino. But most of them, does not know or even care as to who is Ninoy Aquino.

I guess the present generation now can learn more of our history in school, in the internet, and through social media. They can easily google who Ninoy is and what was his contributions in our country.

I am a bit concerned with the fact that some Filipinos are saying that we are far better off during the time of Marcos. I heard from a friend who said that, “if we have Marcos now as our president, then we will not have a problem in terms of the PDAF”. I also saw on facebook a lot of propaganda saying that Marcos was a great leader and that if we did not push through of the EDSA I Revolution, then our country could have been far better now.

I was amazed when I read and learn about this kind of propagandas. I asked myself, “are we really a group of people that can easily forget the brutalities of the martial law period?” It was barely less than 30 years ago when we were under martial law. But for some, this reasoning is not valid. Others believe that martial law was necessary at that time. It was a matter of national security and general welfare of the entire Filipino people. Hence, I will not dwell in that argument contesting the validity or not of that Presidential declaration. But I will share my own limited memory and experience about Martial Law and the Marcos rule in Maguindanao and Central Mindanao.

I was born on the year 1975. It was just few years after Marcos declared martial law, and the peace talks between the Moro National Liberation Front signed the Tripoli Agreement the following year of December. The so called moro conflict have caused several lives and properties on both sides: the moros and the military. What was a developing Cotabato “empire” (meaning the provinces of Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and Sarangani now) was devastated because of the insurgency, moro uprising, Muslim – Christian conflict / Blackshirts vs. Ilagas that occurred in late 1960s until early 1980s. If we asked ourselves, who had the grand design of making the Muslims / Moros a minority of the so called Cotabato “empire”. Who supported the Christian migrants from Luzon and Visayas to facilitate a state-support exploitation of the land and natural resources of the Muslims and the indigenous peoples of this part of Mindanao? Who benefitted in the land titling, business concessions, and political positionings? Answer: The Marcos cronies both locally and nationally benefited a lot.

Who is Ninoy Aquino and what role did he play in the landscape of political and religious history of our country? Ninoy Aquino, when he was a senator, exposed the Merdeka Operation. This operation refers to the clandestine plan of president Ferdinand Marcos to train and send Muslim commandos to Sabah to organize a revolt against Malaysia and to move for our claim to take over the territory. Ninoy delivered at the senate his privileged speech on March 28, 1968 exposing such plan of Marcos. Well, the rest is history.

Before most of us were discussing the Moro history, Ninoy had already made an intensive study about the moros of Mindanao. During his trip to Saudi Arabia, he delivered a speech which was entitled, “Brief History of the Muslim Struggle”. He delivered this at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 12, 1981.

In summary, the speech refers to the history of discrimination about the Muslims in our country and provided policy directions for Marcos to address the Mindanao conflict. He even said in his speech that he can be a mediator between the MNLF and president Marcos.

His closing message was, “I have come to mediate and to ask and to plead that we should now join forces and hopefully once we are united, Mr. Marcos will listen to us, after stealing power now for sixteen years. We do not want to kill Mr. Marcos. All we want from Mr. Marcos is to return to us our freedom. All we ask from Mr. Marcos is to give us clean and honest election and if in the election he will win, then let him continue. But if he should lose, let him go to oblivion. That is all we ask. And it is nothing more but to ask that the Filipinos be given the freedom to choose their governors that must govern them.” (Source:

We must not let Ninoy Aquino die in vain. He is our modern day hero for giving us back our freedom. For Muslim Filipinos like me, Ninoy symbolizes our fight for tyranny, oppression, and culture of impunity. If we allow our people to believe that Marcos is our great president, then we are allowing that the likes of GMA for her ZTE scandal, Fertiziler scam, failed MOA – AD, and creations of warlords to flourish in our land, thus making our children idolize the works of Janet Napoles in her 10 Billion PDAF scam. We should not allow this to happen.

Next week, we will discuss why Pork is haram in Islam both politically and spiritually.


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