|Kingdom of Mindanao and Sulu Abode of Peace
كوتا ميندانااو دان سولوالسلام (Jawi/Malay)
المملكة مينداناو وسولو (Arabic)
Location of the Kingdom of Mindanao and Sulu (in green)
|Largest city||Davao City|
|Official languages||Malay (official)
|Recognised regional languages||Tausūg, Maranaoan, Maguindanaon, Iranun, Surigaonon, Yakan, Sama-Bajau, Manobo, Butuanon|
|Membership||Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
|•||Sultan||Mamintal A. Adiong III|
|•||Political Speaker||Datu Kerkhar S. Tan|
|•||Prime Minister||Datu Aleem Basher|
|Currency||Mindanaoan ringgit (
Bangsamoro shares no land borders with any country. However, it shares maritime borders with the Philippines to the north - bordering the Visayas islands separated by the Bohol Sea, and to the west, sharing a maritime border with Palawan separated by the Sulu Sea. Malaysia lies to the southeast, also sharing a maritime border between the Sulu Archipelago and the Malaysian state of Sabah. Other neighbors include Brunei, as well as Indonesia and the North Moluccas, where it is separated by the Celebes Sea.
Bangsamoro has its origins in the various Islamic kingdoms and states in the area, which from 1521 to 1898, fought wars with the Spanish Empire that colonized the Philippine archipelago. From 1623 to the 1700s, they were annexed by the Andalusian Empire, which helped them successfully fight the Spaniards. From 1898 to 1945, they fought the Japanese Empire and from 1945 to 1946, the Philippines, until the Philippine Partition gave way to their independence. Some states, particularly the Sultanate of Sulu lasted, and existed as a protectorate of the Spanish Empire, and later a protectorate of the United States.
Bangsamoro is multi-ethnic, although mostly homogeneous with all of its people belonging to the Austronesian race. The constitution declares Islam as the state religion, although a very limited religious freedom is allowed for non-Muslims. The head of state is the sultan, who is an elected monarch and the head of government is the prime minister.
It is a member of the Global Alliance of Islamic Nations, the United Nations, ASEAN, APEC and the Non-Aligned Movement.
Etymology and History
When Spain invaded the Philippines, the natives of southern Mindanao showed fierce resistance to Spanish rule. The natives obtained steel blades which allowed them to defeat the Spanish forces, eventually making the Spanish give up and stop attempting to convert western Mindanao's natives. Bangsamoro literally means "Bangsa" which is Malay for "country/state" and "Moro" which is Spanish for "Moors", the moniker for the Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula.
Ironically and coincidentally, Moorish conquistadors actually set foot in the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao. After defeating the Catholic monarchs and expelling Spanish rule from the southern Iberian Peninsula, the Moorish sultans funded overseas expeditions. After conquering Central Mexico, the Moors reached the port city of Ambon, where they drove out the Spanish and formed an alliance with the Portuguese and Dutch. From there, they reached Maimbung, Sulu, where a band of Moorish conquistadors led by an Andalusian general by the name of Azimullah provided the Sulu Sultan's armies with advanced weaponry, including cannons and guns. Azimullah was surprised and astounded that the peoples of Mindanao and Sulu were called "Moors" as well and reported the news to conquistador Muhammad Abu Walid.
The various Sultanates of Mindanao and Sulu then formed a pact and an alliance with the Andalusian Empire, becoming colony states of the Andalusian Empire. Along with the Maluku Archipelago, Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago eventually formed what was known as the Andalusian East Indies.
In 1643, Moorish conquistadors led by the famous Muhammad Abu Walid and Philippine Moro warriors led by Raja Muda Untang of Maguindanao carried out an invasion of southern Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol. Initially successful, the Moorish conquistadors and the Mindanao Moros captured Catholic clergymen, wealthy Mestizo Filipinos and Spaniards as ransom, and even as slaves. They depopulated entire wealthy villages of Catholic Visayans, and re-populated them with Moro Muslims, particularly impoverished Tausūgs, Yakans and Sama-Bajaus from the Sulu Archipelago; many of the were given jobs as soldiers of the new Andalusian and Moro naval blockade in the Bohol Sea. Those Catholics who remained in Cebu were required and obligated to pay the jizya tax.
In 1647, after failed attempts by the Spaniards and their Filipino collaborators, Abu Walid was appointed by Sultan Waleed II to become the Wali or Governor-General of the newly acquired territory. In addition, Abu Walid employed Chinese warlords as guards and watchmen in case of anymore Spanish or Filipino attacks.
In 1898, the Spanish occupation of the Philippine Archipelago ended, and started with the American occupation with the Spanish defeat at the Battle of Manila Bay. However, both the Moros and Filipinos ended up fighting the Americans, and losing. After the Russian loss at the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese attempted to extend their power and hegemony by invading other Asia-Pacific nations.
In World War II, the Philippine Archipelago fell under Japanese rule with the Philippine and American loss against Japanese forces. This time, the Moro rebels switched their sides, deciding to fight alongside the Americans. In 1945, Imperial Japan was defeated and surrendered all of its Asia-Pacific territory. The Americans granted the Philippine Archipelago its independence.
However, the Moros were severely upset by the American decision to include Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan and Visayas to the new Philippine state. Therefore, during the transition phase, forming Moroland, the Moro rebels united and waged a war against the Philippines. The Americans then changed their policy, by creating two separate entities: the Philippines - which would include Luzon, Visayas and Palawan; and Moroland - which would include Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Salipada Pendatun was installed as the President of the Republic of Moroland.
In 1948, Salipada Pendatun declared another war against the Philippines in order to forcefully take Visayas and Palawan, which the Moros felt was also rightfully their territory. The 1948 Philippine-Moro war ended with a Filipino victory.
In 1967, the Republic of Moroland waged another war against the Philippines. However, it ended up in another Filipino victory. It led to the ultimate 1973 Philippine invasion of Mindanao, in which the Filipino forces would end up successfully siezing northern Mindanao.
The Philippine government would end up setting up Filipino settlements in northern Mindanao. The Philippine Armed Forces also carried out atrocities against the native Moro and Lumad population. The Moroland Forces conducted bombings and massacres against Filipino settlements in northern Mindanao.
In 1983, the Moro forces again, attempted to forcefully expel Philippine rule out of northern Mindanao. Despite being initially successful at first, the Moros ended up agreeing to a ceasefire with the Philippines. In addition, the Moro forces ended up delivering a psychological blow against the Filipinos, who ended up discouraging settlements in Mindanao and petitioning for the Philippine government to end their occupation of northern Mindanao.
After 1983, the Moroland Republic re-focused on re-building itself within.
It wouldn't be until 2008, when the Moros would finally retake northern Mindanao from the Filipinos after well-coordinated surprise attacks against the unsuspecting Filipino forces. The United Nations and The Hague awarded northern Mindanao the status as a Bangsamoro territory. However, Visayas and Palawan remained part of the Philippines, a move that Vizier Mujiv Hataman convinced and pressured then-sultan Nur Misuari to accept.
Though the official name is "The Kingdom of Mindanao and Sulu Abode of Peace", the name "Bangsamoro", its official short name, and official alternative, has become much more overwhelmingly common. There have been talks within the Bangsamoro Parliament, to officially drop "Mindanao and Sulu" and replace it with "Bangsamoro" entirely to enforce the Moro Islamic identity of the nation.
However, the term "Mindanao and Sulu" continue to be used by non-Muslims, due the the terms Moro and Bangsamoro being associated with Muslims and to be considered a Moro, is a legally defined status. It is often extremely discouraged, nearly forbidden for non-Muslims to use and espouse the name "Bangsamoro". Barangays and towns often forbid churches from using the name, in favor of having them use "Mindanao and Sulu" in its place.
Bangsamoro's political system runs on a semi-theocratic monarchy, the sultan is the current supreme source of political power. However, that political power is rightfully exercised within the Prime Minister - resembling southern neighbor Malaysia's adaptation of Westminster politics. And much like Malaysia, the sultan is also an elected position. Islam is the state religion of Bangsamoro, and the Qu'ran, the Islamic holy text is part of the country's legislature, although not the sole document and a separate constitution does exist to accommodate the non-Muslims.
People running for high offices in government, such as a Prime Minister, must have been born in Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. Or, must have been born to those to a native of Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago.
The indigenous term datu or dato is used almost by all royals of Mindanao and Sulu, regardless of their ethnic group. It has become a symbolic term for Bangsamoro.
Presidential Republic Transition Proposal
In March 4, 2015, members of the Bangsamoro Parliament proposed a transition from a constitutional monarchy to a presidential republic. On January 30, 2016, the proposal was approved by the Supreme Council of Kota Batu for a hearing. In December 1, 2016, the hearings began, the voting and debate process is currently on-going.
The citizen's vote is schedule to take place on February 3, 2017. The Council voting is scheduled to begin on February 7, 2017.
Islamic Nobility and Politics
By law, all political leaders must profess Islam as their faith, since Islam is the state religion. Non-Muslims wanting to run for any political position must convert to Islam. All of Bangsamoro's highest and most prestigious ranks require one to be a Muslim.
According to the Constitution of Mindanao and Sulu, one must be a Muslim to become the king or sultan of Bangsamoro.
Bangsamoro is divided into regional rajahnates, carved out of the original regions and borders set by the Philippine government in Mindanao and Sulu. Each region is ruled by a Muslim prince known as a rajah (Jawi: راجه, Arabic: راجح), where the term has been revived. These rajahs are to oversee the functions of each region, and hold the second greatest power in the Bangsamoro.
Each province in Bangsamoro is ruled by a lower-ranking Muslim prince or maharaja (Sanskrit: महाराज, Arabic: مهراجا, Jawi: مهاراجه) a tradition adopted from the Sulu Sultanate, used for provincial princes. Misuari liked the idea of using the title maharajah for a provincial title, although it originated from an Indian term meaning "high king" - in contrary to its use.
Marawi City is the religious capital of Bangsamoro, known as the Islamic City of Marawi.
Like its northern neighbor Philippines, Bangasmoro's smallest units of political divisions are known as barangays. The largest political divisions are known Kerajaan, or Rajahnates (Jawi: كراجأن, Arabic: راجيهنات). Each of these rajahnates are divided into provinces, known as wilayah (Arabic/Jawi: ولاية). Zamboanga City is the administrative capital of Bangsamoro, and Marawi City is the Shariah courts operate. The provinces of Maguindanao, North Lanao, South Lanao, Kota Batu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi form the Bumiputra Moro ("Moro World" in Malay), which was carved out of what was once the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or the ARMM when Mindanao and Sulu were part of the Philippines - since technically almost all of Bangsamoro is now populated by Muslims at this point. The Bumiputra Moro was extended to include Lanao del Norte (now North Lanao), Cotabato (now Kota Batu) and Zamboanga del Sur (now South Zamboanga) when the Christian population of Lanao del Norte and the Zamboanga Peninsula decreased significantly due to the mass exodus of Ilocanos and Cebuanos in Lanao del Sur, once-more making the area predominantly Muslim. In 2016, North Zamboanga and Zamboanga Sibugay were added to the Bumiputra Moro. The Zamboanga Region also was dissolved, and was split up among different regions.
|Region (Rajahnate)||Provinces (Wilayah)||Regional Center||Rajah (region's ruler)|
||Nahar al-Dahab||Murad Ebrahim|
Muhammad R. Duterte
Immigration and Citizenship Policies
Currently, Bangsamoro migration laws only permit Muslim migrants to settle in the kingdom, this contributes to the growing Muslim population of Bangsamoro. The reason for this was to undo what the previous Spanish, American and Philippines regimes had done in encouraging illegal Catholic migrations and settlements to Mindanao. Occasionally, however, then-sultan Nur Misauri allowed few Christian families to settle in Bangsamoro but they, as all non-Muslims, had to pay the jizya tax and take an oath not to disrupt the lives of Muslims. But this can only be achieved if a Christian migrant can prove to be a positive impact on Moro society. According to a 2015 research, about 103 Christians have been allowed to migrate and settle in the country, as dhimmis (non-Muslim citizens). The majority being Filipino Christians. The current sultan, Mamintal Adiong II, says he plans to continue Misuari's act of limited allowance of Christian migrants - as dhimmis, but plans to continue imposing the "necessary" restrictions to prevent disturbances to Moro society.
As for the Muslim migrants, many tend to be impoverished Indonesians and Malaysians finding work in Bangsamoro. In 2016, about 5,024 Indonesian expatriates, and 456 Malaysian expatriates were granted Bangsamoro citizenship.
Dual citizenship is not recognized.
The Bangsamoro government is also urging for the illegal Moros living in Sabah to return to their homeland through a program known as the "Balik Bangsamoro".
Misauri said that the ban on non-Muslim migrants is to "... protect the presence of Islam in Mindanao and Sulu." He also said, "It is my job to do so, but also to protect the Christians already living in the kingdom but not to let anymore Roman Catholics settle and outnumber the Muslims as had happened when they called us Filipinos."
Army and Law EnforcementThe National Bangsamoro Armed Forces forms the armed wing of the Bangsamoro government. The Moro people take pride in their military, as being armed and combat-ready has been a part of Moro culture. The armed forces are divided into the Royal Moro Army, Royal Moro Navy, Royal Moro Air Force, the Royal Guards and the Paramilitary - which contains the largest number of personnel. They are under the command of the sultan, with the exception of the Paramilitary which is partially controlled by the direct governing body to which they answer to. The Bangsamoro forces are divided into regional battalions, with every rajahnate having a battalion. The control of each battalion is shared between the sultan and the rajah. However, the rajah must gain approval from the sultan before deploying the armed forces. Additionally, in times of war, all rajahs answer to the sultan, and all battalions become responsible. Those battalions are further divided into divisions, units and barangay units. The barangay units form the smallest military division, and are responsible for the defense of each individual barangay. Despite barangay units' appearance as a constabulary force, the Constitution clearly empowers local law enforcement and police to deal with civil disturbances. However, the police does have the authority to request military aid, should their services be insufficient. The exception is for barangays or towns that lack a police force, in which the barangay units are authorized to enforce civil law. The Royal Moro Navy currently has active presence in the Sulu Sea, Davao Gulf, Moro Gulf as well as the Bohol Sea to the north, to guard its maritime borders. The RMN works closely with the Indonesian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy to combat terrorism and piracy. Despite the turbulent history between the Moros and Filipinos, members of the RMN and the Philippine Navy in the Bohol Sea work together to combat drug smuggling, communist insurgency and other disturbances. However, an attack by Visayan militants in northern Mindanao led to distrust against the Philippine Navy by Moro naval leaders.
The Bangsamoro Armed Forces is currently a "progressing army", recently buying modern technology to that of its northern Philippine neighbor and southern Malaysian neighbor. Russia currently supplies the Bangsamoro army, following a 2015 agreement between Prime Minister Aleem S. Bashir and Tsar Vladimir of Russia. Though, the Bangsamoro armed forces also orders equipment from Germany, United Kingdom, Indonesia, United States and Spain. Russia and Indonesia supply 85% of equipment for the Royal Moro Navy.
During its early days, the Bangsamoro armed forces lacked true capability to defend itself, due to being a new army. The Bangsamoro Constitution set up a "Citizens Defense Oath", in which every single municipality unit, down to the barangay, contains a paramilitary force. These form the Paramilitary of the Bangsamoro Armed Forces.
The Bangsamoro National Police is the national law enforcement group.
Crime and militancy still continues to pose problems to public safety in Bangsamoro. For example, remnants of the Ilaga, a Visayan Catholic and anti-Islamic militant group that the Philippine government used a paramilitary force during the occupation of northern Mindanao, continues to commit acts of murder against Muslims. Known groups operate in parts of the Kota Batu Province, as well as North Lanao They now refer to themselves as Los Cruzados. Another off-shoot in the Zamboanga Peninsula refers to themselves as Rebels of Christ.
Muhammad Rodrigo Duterte, a convert to Islam and the mayor of Davao City, known for his vigilante-style justice and criminal punishment, has offered rewards for the heads of members working for these militant groups.
The Bangsamoro government enacted a "Zero-Tolerance Policy" for members of the Ilaga and all of its off-shoots. Any caught members are to be beheaded and dealt with via the death penalty, at all costs.
On the other hand, the local Abu-Sayyaf, responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Southeast Asia, continue to commit crimes against the Lumads (native non-Muslims) - and even the Moro Muslims themselves. Unlike the majority of Moro Muslims, whose culture contains a mix of Islamic and pre-Islamic influence, the Abu-Sayyaf believes in a radically conservative form of Islam, wanting to eliminate all non-Islamic and pre-Islamic influences in Bangsamoro. This had led to the formation of the Lumad Protection Alliance, an organized paramilitary organization aimed at battling Abu-Sayyaf. Manobo datu Hernan Ujang promised the Bangsamoro government that the LMA has no association with the Ilaga, and will work with Muslims to battle the Abu-Sayyaf. Then-sultan Nur Misuari recognized them as a legitimate and legal organization, and within constitutional law via the Citizens Defense Oath.
One of the worse incidents took place on November 16, 2015, in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat when a three-way gun fight involving the Abu-Sayyaf, LMA, the Ilaga and local police forces claimed the lives of 87 people, injuring more than 113, displacing 76 people from their homes. About 82 people were detained, however, 34 Lumad datus were released. The other 48, a mix of Abu-Sayyaf and Ilaga leaders were executed via beheading. During the trial and investigation, Abu-Sayyaf and Ilaga leaders both accused one another of instigating the skirmish.
On July 19, 2016, a group of armed Ilaga militants from Visayas led an attack in the city of Iligan in northern Mindanao. They had used the Bohol Sea as a route. Leaders of the Royal Moro Navy accused thr Philippine Navy not only of being incompetent, but intentionally giving the militants access through the Bohol Sea. All Moro forces in the Bohol Sea were ordered by Sultan Mamintal Adiong II to withdraw all contact with Filipino forces.
The Bangsamoro government recognizes three groupings of ethnic groups. Like its southern neighbor Malaysia, the natives of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago are known as the Bumiputra. This is divided into the Moro Bumiputra and the Non-Moro Bumiputra. Others are known as "Foreign Ethnic Groups".
The Moro Bumiputra (Jawi: مورو بوميڤوتريا, lit. "Moro World" in Malay), are the ethnic groups that have had their historical roots associated with Islam, resistance to Spanish rule, as well as the islands of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. The people are called Moros. In order to be considered a Moro, one must profess Islam as their faith. Secondly, there are several ways one can be considered Moro. One way, via jus soli, is to be born in Mindanao or the Sulu Archipelago. Another way is via jus sanguinis is to have descent from any of the Moro ethnic groups of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, whether full or partial. The government recognizes the following native groups as Moros: they include the Maguindanaons, Maranaons, Tausūgs, Iranuns, Samals, Yakans, Kalagans, Sama-Bajau. Those belonging to the Orang Lumad tribes will be considered Moro if they convert to Islam.
The other group, is the aforementioned Orang Lumad, also known as the Banu Asli (Arabic: بني الأصل) meaning "sons of the indigenous" in Arabic (similar to the Malaysian term Orang Asli) the non-Muslim natives. During Philippine occupation, they were simply known as Lumads, until Misuari added the Malay term Orang. In offical Arabic-language sources in Bangsamoro, they are known as the Banu Asli. These people although having lesser rights than the Moro Muslims, still enjoy privileges typically not offered to non-Muslims, including the right to use royal titles, serve in law enforcement and become leaders of barangays and municipalities, as long as that barangay is inhabited predominantly by Lumads. These ethnic groups include the Manobo, B'laan, T'boli, Subanons, Mandaya, Mansaka, Surigaonons, the following ethnic groups, if non-Muslim, are considered Orang Lumads: the Butuanons, Bukidnons, and Higaonon. Converts to Islam from the Orang Lumad get to enjoy all of the rights and privileges that Moro Muslims enjoy, including the right to be considered a Moro, run for Prime Minister, Sultan and Political Speaker.
The Chavacano people are a creole ethnic group, and are considered part of the Bumiputra. They are divided into sub-groups, much like their Moro and Orang Lumad counterparts. The biggest sub-group are the Zamboangueño people, the speakers of the Zamboanga dialect. Despite being a Spanish-influenced and predominantly Catholic ethnic group (with a Muslim minority), they are native to the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago, as well other places in Mindanao, where most of their history revolves around. Therefore, these two make them qualify for Bumiputra status.
The Pulauan, literally Malay for "of the islands", mostly refer to the descendants of Chinese settlers to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago throughout the entire history of Bangsamoro. They however, they can also refer to descendants of Indian or Arab settlers. They are unique in that unlike the modern-day Chinese, or Arab and Indian settlers and their descendants, the Pulauan are considered Bumiputra. The Incik Pulauan (Chinese Pulauan) and Injan Pulauan (Indian Pulauan) are unique, in that while they know of their Chinese and Indian heritages, and even celebrate Chinese or Indian holidays. However, most do not speak the language of their ancestors, and speak a native Bangsamoro language, particularly Maguindanaoan, Chavacano, Tausug, Maranaoan and Butuanon having the most native speakers of Chinese ethnicity. The Pulauan are similar to the Peranakan in Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. At one point, Bangsamoro politicians had contemplated using the name Peranakan, or Peranakan Mindanao (to distinguish from the Peranakan of the neighboring countries). Pulauans who are Muslim are allowed to run for Prime Minister and Sultan, and enjoy all of the Muslim Bumiputria privileges. Other groups, such as the descendants of Indonesians and Malays are also considered Pulauan.
There is a debate within the Bangsamoro Parliament as to whether to include Bangsamoro-born Filipinos as Pulauan.
Other ethnic groups, such as the Filipinos (which include the Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Tagalogs), non-Pulauan Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Arab and well as those who aren't Bumiputra are part of the Foreign Ethnic Group status. People belonging to these groups lose some privileges, such as not being able to run for Prime Minister or Sultan. However, they can become rajahs, governors, maharajahs, datus, mayors, join military amd law enforcement, given that they are Muslim.
Islam accounts for about 87% of Bangsamoro's total population and 10% are Christians, 3% belong to Animist and indigenous traditional religions. Most Muslims are either followers of traditional Sunni Islam or Folk Islam. Despite the predominance of Sunni Islam, pre-Islamic practices and traditions are still prevalent. Roman Catholicism continues to decrease as Catholics continue to emigrate to the Philippines, in fears of religious persecution. It is estimated that Bangsamoro may be entirely Muslim by as early as 2025. As of 2016, about 6,083 Roman Catholics and non-Muslims have emigrated to the Philippines.
The Shariah Court has some influence on the politics, sales of pork and alcohol are not permitted in any predominantly-Muslim territory or space, they are, under strict supervision, allowed in Christian areas. Muslims are not permitted to work for businesses that deal with the sale of swine meat or alcohol. Those transporting alcohol and pork are required by law to put labels on their vehicles, known as "Haram stickers", indicating that they have non-Halal and Haram foods and items in their possession. However, this doesn't apply to regular non-Muslim civilians who simply have non-Halal foods in their vehicles.
Most Christians are Roman Catholics, with Protestant, Baptist, Methodist and Evangelical. The Iglesia ni Kristo had once been part of the Mindanaoan Christian community, however the Mindanaoan Parliament outlawed it in 2012, its members were forced to either convert to Islam or any of the other Christian sections in Mindanao, leave the country or face imprisonment.
A new bill is currently underway and being discussed, that would ban non-Muslims from bringing any pork or alcohol products into predominantly Muslim areas, the law would establish police patrols in every entrance to a Muslim-majority barangay checking commuters for Haram food products, similar to drug checks. Exceptions would have been Haram-labeled transportation passing through the territory to get to their destination. However, the bill was shot down, as the Bangsamoro Parliament ruled that the costs to hire security personnel to check thousands of vehicles would destroy the country's national budget to spend on other things. In addition, the Bangsamoro Parliament also ruled that such a law would encourage illegal and underground pork routes.
The constitution of Bangsamoro does offer some limited religious freedom, but Islam is the state religion and non-Muslims are obligated to pay the jizya, the special tax applied to non-Muslims living in a Muslim nation. In addition, non-Muslims cannot serve in government, political or military positions (though they are allowed to keep personal arms, via the Citizens Defense Oath). Every province is also required to have an Islamic center, complemented by a madrasa as the government supports active attempts to spread Islam through the islands. There have been proposals by Islamist parties, such as the Moro Islamic Front Party and the Laskar Allah Party to completely strip non-Muslims of citizenship, adopting Saudi Arabian-style laws for citizenship.
The Bangsamoro government currently allows churches to operate in the country. However, the constitution also says that proselytizing with Muslims is illegal, Muslims may only convert out of Islam if one chooses to but that ex-Muslim may not preach any outside religion to his Muslim counterparts. In addition, people converting out of Islam lose certain rights and privileges. Churches also have proximity limits to Muslim areas.
The Bangsamoro Parliament still lets Christian churches operate in Zamboanga City, such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga. However, they are only allowed to preach to Christians, and non-Christians that are not Muslims. All non-Muslim houses of worship must register with the government.
Bangsamoro contains a melting pot and diversity of languages. The national language of Bangsamoro is known as Bahasa Mindanao Melayu. known as the Mindanaoan Malay language. It is the country's national dialect of the Malay language. It is normally referred to as "Malay" indifferent of the other dialects.
The Mindanaoan Malay language is distinct from other Malay dialects, in that is borrows heavily from the native languages of Mindanao, and incorporates some Spanish, Filipino and Hokkien loanwords. It also retains heavy influence from Old Malay. While Mindanaoan Malay is mostly written in the Latin script, the Muslim nobility also utilizes the famous Jawi script, the Arabic script used to write Southeast Asian languages.
Bangsamoro has three officially recognized languages, they are Arabic, English and Chavacano. Modern Standard Arabic is the standardized dialect of Arabic official to Bangsamoro, and is used in media and newspapers. The Arabic language was introduced into Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, via Arab and Muslim traders, as well as Arabic-speaking Malay missionaries. The various sultanates of Mindanao and Sulu officiated Arabic as their official languages. In addition to that, the Moorish rulers under the leadership of the conquistador Muhammad Abu Walid made Arabic the official language of the Andalusian East Indies, and made it the language of education, politics and trade. Arabic today is spoken by the top elites, newspaper issues printed in Arabic are often much more expensive than those in English. There was a push to standardize Arabic, and make it the common lingua franca of the nation, however with the nationalizing of the Mindanaoan language, that died. There is a language known as Mukhalit, which is an Arabic-creole that was formed the very similar way Chavacano came into being, Mukhalit contains a mix with the native languages of Bangsamoro.
The majority of Bangsamoro's population can speak proficient English, an everlasting influence from American and Philippine occupation. Among the non-Muslims and Lumads, English (along with Chavacano) is the favored language, as Arabic is often associated with the Moro Muslims. English is an official language, and used as a language of education and is the majority language use to print media, and on television broadcasts, along with Arabic or Chavacano.
The Southern Philippine, South Mindanao and Visayan families languages have the largest amount of native speakers. All of these three are Austronesian language groups. The indigenous language with the largest amount of native speakers is Maguindanaoan, followed by Tausūg, Maranaoan, Iranun, Surginaonon in that order. Other widely-spoken indigenous languages include T'boli, B'laan, Yakan, Kalagan, Subanon, Sama-Bajau and Manobo.
Visayans (particularly Cebuanos and Hiligaynons) and Tagalogs still make large populations in Mindanao and Sulu, these are those Filipino settlers and their descendants who chose to remain and pay jizya taxes or convert to Islam rather than to be expelled back to the Philippines. However, more Cebuanos, Tagalogs and Hiligaynons continue to emigrate back to the Philippines, due the burdensome laws imposed against non-Muslims, as well as fears of religious persecution. They are considered part of the Filipino ethnic group, who have a foreigner status ethnicity in Bangsamoro. However, those Visayans and Tagalogs who have converted to Islam do not consider themselves Filipino, embracing the Moro nationality. Although Tausūg is a Visayan language, the Tausūgs do not consider themselves, nor are they considered Visayans. The term "Visayan" is often used to refer to the non-Muslims. There is debate whether Surigaonon-speakers should be considered part of the Visayan group, or the Lumad group.
Ilocanos once made up one of the largest populations in Mindanao, joining their Visayan and Tagalog counterparts in forming a part of the majority. However, almost all Ilocano-speakers have fled to Philippines, with with little to no known Ilocano population remaining in what is now Bangsamoro.
Tagalog and Filipino are still widely understood, even spoken in the northern regions, for the sake of being a former Philippine territory as well as historical interactions. However, it has no official status, and many Tagalog-language public signs have been replaced with English or Arabic. It is expected that future generations will no longer speak Tagalog, as the Bangsamoro government has actively discouraged Tagalog. Linguists predict that by at least 2025, Tagalog would have been completely extinguished from the country. However, Filipino and Tagalog are taught as foreign languages. There has been a transition move by the Bangsamoro's Department of Education to replace Filipino with either English, Arabic or possibly Malay as the medium of instruction in many former Philippine schools in the northern regions once occupied by the Philippines.
Chavacano is a Philippine Spanish Creole from the Zamboanga Peninsula, it has gained much popularity in Mindanao and Sulu, it is also an official language in Mindanao and Sulu and is also used by many of the royalty (especially in the Zamboanga Peninsula). It is also an official language. In fact, many of Zamboanga's madrasas also use Chavacano alongside Arabic or English.
Most of the languages are written in the Latin script. However, Jawi is used in the Moro Bumiputra regions, especially with Marawi City where along with Arabic, Jawi is the alphabet used for most public signs and used to print many of the indigenous languages, particularly the Maguindanaon, Yakan, Iranun, Tausūg and Maranaon languages. It is also used to write the Malay language, as in Brunei and western Malaysia. Members of the Muslim nobilities along with Arabic, use the Jawi script extensively, using Latin script for contact outside of the Bumiputra Moro. Like Arabic-language newspapers, media printed in Jawi such as Jawi-script newspapers are often much more expsensive than those printed in English.
There are also speakers of Indonesian, scattered throughout with the highest concentration in Davao City which has a high overseas Indonesian and Malay population. Indonesians currently form the largest foreign group. Indonesian and Malay are also Austronesian languages, and related to the native languages of Bangsamoro and the Philippines. The other largest are Chinese, Filipinos, Malaysians and Indians.
CuisineThe cuisine of Bangsamoro is unique, is contains a blend of indigenous elements along with Chinese, Malay, Middle Eastern, Indian, and strong influences from Philippine and American cuisine. Traditional Bangsamoro cuisine is rich in spices, and bears resemblances to the cuisines of the surrounding neighbors of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Regional cuisines also exist within the kingdom. Rice is a staple, a usual trend of cuisines among the Asia-Pacific rim. Staple meats include beef, chicken and goat.
The overwhelming majority exclude pork and alcohol from their diet, in compliance with Islamic dietary laws - which has influenced federal law regulating pork and alcohol sales. Pork is consumed among the Christian community, and bears Filipino influence.
Due to Bangsamoro's geographic location, seafoods are also a huge role, especially in the Zamboanga Peninsula and the Sulu Archipelago.Very traditional clans, particularily Maranaoans and Iranuns, often adopt the Malay and Indian practice of eating on the floor, cross-legged and with their hands. Many others have adopted the western-style practice of eating on a table.
Tiyula itum, is a Sulu goat stew of Tausūg origin, that is made with burnt coconut meat and has become popular all over the Sulu Archipelago. Rendang, is a Malay and Indonesian-influenced spicy beef specialty, that is served on big occasions such as weddings and celebrations. It is considered a national dish in Bangsamoro.
Satti, is a skewered snack, also known as satay. Maranaoan and Iranun cuisine is generally spicy-rich, and is more spicier than the rest of Bangsamoro cuisine. A popular Maranaoan dish is goat curry noodles.Kinilaw is a ceviche-like dishes from Davao City, made from tuna, mackerel, swordfish with cucumber. The durian is considered a "national fruit" of Bangsamoro, and is a common ingredient in many desserts, due to it being grown from Davao City.
Kuraca, is a crab dish eaten in the Zamboanga Peninsula, it is a made a unique species breed of deep-sea crabs that can only be around the waters that surround the peninsula. The popular dish has also spread to the Sulu Archipelago, where it eaten among the royalty and wealthy. In addition, shrimp is also a seafood staple of Bangsamoro cuisine.
Through decades of Philippine rule, the culinary traditions of Bangsamoro have absorbed and retain heavy Filipino influence, though with adjustments - such as the applying of Halal and Islamic dietary laws. It shares many dishes with the Philippine cuisine, and is nearly identical. Like its northern Philippine neighbor, bagoong, a fermented condiment made with either fish or squid, remains a staple of Moro cuisine. Ginanggang, a skewered banana snack is considered the "national dessert" of Bangsamoro. It is made of saba banana, a special type of banana grown in Bangsamoro and the Philippines. It is native to Mindanao.
Adobo a marinated dish of Philippine-origin is still eaten by the people of Bangsamoro. Though popular as being a marinated pork dish in the Philippines, most Moros eat it in the form of chicken adobo, to substitute pork with chicken or other Halal meats. The Cebuano Christians retain the Filipino-style tradition of eating it with pork. Chicken adobo is known by several names in Bangsamoro, save for the English name, it is known as adobo ayam in Malay and adobo de pollo in Chavacano. Adobong manok, the original Filipino name is still occasionally used.
Inasal ayam (chicken inasal) is also another popular Moro dish, originally a Philippine grilled chicken dish that originated from the Philippine city of Bacolod.
Popular desserts (also of Philippine origin) include suman and tupig, both rice-cake desserts. Though the first aforementioned is steamed, while the latter is grilled. Both are wrapped in either banana leaves or coconut leaves. Hopia is a pastry of Chinese-Filipino origin.
Street peddlers have also retained the practice of selling sweet dinner rolls (known in the Philippines as pandesal from Spanish pan de sal) on the streets. Though many Moros have instead refrained from calling it pandesal, and using the Malay-term roti garam. It is the direct Malay translation of the Spanish word pan de sal, meaning "salt bread".
Balut, a fertilized chicken egg is also eaten in Bangsamoro. However, due being a Haram food (forebidden in Islam), it is mostly consumed and sold among the Christian communities. Balut, along with pork and swine is one of the federally regulated foods in Bangsamoro.
Lecón, a roasted specialty is also eaten during big holidays. Though lecón in its original traditional roasted suckling pig-form is eaten among the Christians, the Moro version is known as lecón kambing, where an entire goat is roasted instead. It is mostly associated and eaten on the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
American influence in Moro cuisine and culinary traditions was actually through the result of Philippine occupation. Like the Philippines, there are 24/7 "Burger Machine" stands scattered across Bangsamoro, that sell not only burgers, but also fries and milkshakes.
In 2015, many American and Philippine chains began re-opening international franchises in Bangsamoro. Jollibee is almost as popular in Bangsamoro as it is in the Philippines.
Bangsamoro is a member of ASEAN, making it easier for economic recovery. Upon independence, Bangsamoro has been listed as a "developing nation" by the United Nations and ASEAN, and listed as the poorest member of ASEAN. As of 2015, it is currently just below the "middle power" status. As of 2016, it was taken down from the United Nations' list of developing countries, and has received positive ratings as a progressive nation. It has surpassed Cambodia and Myanmar in terms of its economic development. It is often known as the one of the "Food Baskets of the Malay Archipelago", joining Thailand and Indonesia in food exports. The government continues to make efforts to develop Bangsamoro's economy - and has been fairly successful in doing so. The country's economics are based the exports of durian, gold, oil, sardines, and coconuts. Durian, coconuts and mangoes are cash crops of Bangsamoro, often exported to Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
The Davao region is known for its durian which is known as the cash crop of Bangsamoro. In 2014, Misuari re-opened the durian industry in the Philippines, and allowed many former Filipino durian industry workers to return, as overseas Filipino workers. Despite being former enemies, trade between Bangsamoro and the Philippines is strong. Bangsamoro exports durian from Davao and sardines from Zamboanga to the Philippines, while the Philippines exports bagoong and abaca to Bangsamoro. Many Philippine chain businesses, particularly fast food chains such as Jollibee, Burger Machine, Chow-King also operate stores in Bangsamoro. In 2015, when Misuari re-opened the Bangsamoro trade with the Philippines, all of the store locations belonging to these businesses were re-opened in their original locales where they remain operating today. The current sultan, Mamintal Adiong II often compares Philippines-Bangsamoro relations to Malaysia-Indonesia relations, as a "love-hate" relationship. In 2016, Red Ribbon and and Max's Restaurants were also approved to open locations in Bangsamoro by the National Department of Food and Agriculture, with both new locations and re-openings of former locations.
Mining and archaeological projects in various regions (particularily Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao) has led to the discovery of gold - both in its raw form and artifacts of gold belts used by the datu classes of pre-Hispanic Philippines, and another abundance of what Misuari claims to be a remnant or even a part of Yamashita's lost treasure. Bangsamoro enjoys a gold abundance, which contributes to its emerging economic boom and fast economic recovery, attracting many migrants from China, Indonesia and India. In 2016, Bangsamoro achieved a milestone, by becoming the 10th largest exporter of gold, surpassing Indonesia. It is currently the largest exporter of gold in Southeast Asia. Bangsamoro is expected to becoming one of the richest countries in Southeast Asia by 2020.
Bangsamoro imports rice from Thailand, coal from Indonesia and tin products from Malaysia.
Tourism also plays a major role in Bangsamoro's national revenue. The country attracts tourists from Philippines, India, Indonesia, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia and German, who come to visit Bangsamoro's various gardens, forts, shrines, temples and mosques.