MOROS, LUMADS ARE INHABITANTS OF MINDANAO By Hassan Hatab
The early inhabitants of Mindanao to include Zamboanga City were Moros and Lumads. During the Spanish era, the Muslim natives of Mindanao were called Moros by the Spaniards. The term Moros derived from the word Moors, the name given by the Spaniards to the inhabitants of Mauritania and Morocco.
Waves of migrants from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao and Sulu to include Zamboanga City, increased after the United States annexed Mindanao and Sulu to the national territory of the Philippines in the grant of Philippine Independence to the Filipino people on July 4, 1946.
This was the beginning when the chapter of Muslim History became distorted and worrisome because of the considerable number of Christianized Filipinos who settled in Mindanao and later on became prejudiced, bigoted and mistrustful to the Moros or Muslims in Mindanao particularly in Zamboanga City.
On January 7, 1977, the negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were formalized as both sides agreed to form their respective peace panels. On July 18, 1997, both parties signed the agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities and committed their respective Armed Forces to the cessation of hostilities in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.
In the negotiations, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) proposed a single talking point agenda with the Philippine government and that is on "how to solve the Bangsamoro Problems".
In the process of negotiations, the MILF cited some centuries-old historical landmarks and documents to assert their historical rights and evidences to support their claim for governance over their ancestral homeland and domain in Mindanao to include the city of Zamboanga.
Parts of these historical landmarks are the relics found in the city hall of Zamboanga City. At the right side of the main entrance to the city hall, there is a black iron placed on the wall with inscription in Tagalog dialect that reads "Ang lalawigan ito ay lalawigan ng mga Muslims".
Another historical relic is the black iron door located at the accounting section of the city hall with inscription "Treasury, government of the Moro Province".
All these historical relics implied that Zamboanga City was formerly governed by the Muslims and not by Spaniards or Spanish speaking people. Nobody can deny the true history of Mindanao especially Zamboanga City.
So, people should not surprise or oppose when someday Zamboanga City will be ruled again by Muslims. After all historically this city was once ruled by Muslims.