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The Politics of Ethnicity and Moro Secessionism in The Philippines

The Muslim secessionist movement in the Philippines has been a continuing concern of the government. From the colonial to post-colonial period, regimes have tried to understand the deep underlying reasons behind the Muslim rebellion and attempted to confront secessionism in various modes, ranging from military to peaceful engagements. This paper is another effort to examine the issue of Muslim separatism. However, unlike other approaches the study analyzes secessionism from the perspective of ethno politics.

It appraises the significance of the politics of ethnicity in strengthening and weakening of Muslims’ idea of Bangsamoro identity and how such identity has served and continues to serve a political purpose.

As the Philippine state tries to unify its nation, other nations’ assert their right to form their own state. The Bangsa Moro (Moro Nation)2 is the most forceful compared to others, Cordillera, for instance (Buendia; 1991). The conflict generated by the state’s nation-building’ on the one hand and Moros’ state-building’ on the other hand continues to unfold.

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Under this purview, the complex relationship between the politics of identities, unifying nationalism and democratic governance is apparent. It is one of the vital areas that must be explored towards a better understanding of the dynamics and interaction involving state actors and independence movements. The paper offers an alternative view in probing at the complexity of Moro secessionism.

Apart from the weakness of the state in conclusively addressing the Moro national question, as argued by several scholars the weakness of the Bangsamoro identity contributes to their inability to negotiate with the state on the terms and conditions of Muslim political autonomy and self-governance in the Philippines.

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The paper argues that this drawback has allowed the state to exploit the ethnic cleavages between and among the Moros to frustrate their collective demands for a Moro nation-state.

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The Politics of Ethnicity and Moro Secessionism in The Philippines. (2020, May 07). Retrieved from

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