HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 54 no. 1 (2008)

Roots of Mindanao Conflict: An Analysis

Manuel R. Tawagon

Discipline: History, Social Studies



This paper aims to examine both the historical and contemporary causes of the Mindanao conflict. For our purposes, historical causes here refer to the bloody encounters between the Spaniards and the Moros, between Spanish colonial policies/objectives which were designed to religiously, economically, and politically subjugate the latter, and the Moro responses/reactions which were categorized into retaliatory, collaborative and piratical. These encounters are termed as the "Moro Wars" which lasted for over 300 years and left long lasting scars. This impact not only historically blinded us but also historically conditioned our mindset today towards each other. Included in the discussions are issues of colonial perceptions of the Moros, Muslim-Christian relations, and the concepts of jihad and gobirno a sarwang a tao. These historical causes were aggravated, to a greater extent, by the relatively recent phenomenon of migration which was encountered as a matter of policy, first by the American colonial government, and later, by the Philippine government.