In defense of my brother Tausogs-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Monday, March 11, 2013
I DO not know what went wrong. In the complicated diplomatic travesty, I wondered why soon after our Foreign Affairs Secretary talked with his counterpart in Kuala Lumpur, my Tausog brothers suddenly were tagged as “terrorists.”
They maybe armed and their religion is Islam but the Tausogs do not belong to the mold of terrorists by any tint of what al-Qaeda and its clones behave and I think our Malaysian neighbors are well aware of this. I refuse to believe that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario made the attribution to the Tausog Filipinos as terrorists and I hope that it was merely one of those journalistic faux pas which now and then we unwittingly commit. I personally have a very high regard for Secretary del Rosario for in many occasions he placed his life at stake to rescue Filipinos I dire straight. This problem involving the descendants of the Sultan of Sulu was no different from the more complex problems that the ambassador had taken.
I do not wish to delve anymore on the political issue involving Sabah, the Philippines, Malaysia and the Sultanate of Sulu. So much had been written about it and so many dissertations had occupied the pages of current and ancient histories surrounding Sabah and the claim of the sultanate. I need not add anything more to it. What is a primordial concern now is the safety of the thousands of Filipinos in Sabah and how to defuse the tension that already had led to the killings of combatants and non-combatants from both sides. Lahad Datu where the followers of Kiram landed is as far to Manila as it is to Kuala Lumpur. If Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are barely visited by the centrist government of Metro Manila, Lahad Datu endures the same iniquity from KL government. Like the Tausugs the Sabahans in those parts have somehow manage to let the loose ends meet. In fact, without us knowing, there was existing informal but vibrant trade between them. It is therefore unfortunate that this bloody confrontation happened.
Had Kiram and his followers crossed borders without carrying firearms, the incendiary encounter would have been avoided. But that is now water under the bridge. The problem is now complicated while the situation remains to be extremely volatile.
I do not see KL and Manila engage in armed confrontation. Both sides have treated Kiram and his loyal subjects as a common problem. KL employed a mailed fist in a velvet glove. Manila threatened with a criminal suit. This placed our brothers Tausogs in the so-called catch- 22 which, if KL and Manila will not give them any honorable exit and humane approach, might just successfully turn them into terrorists which they were unkindly described. Then we will have a very serious problem.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 12, 2013.