From the early 1970s, the Philippines has experienced an almost ongoing armed secessionist movement from members of its Muslim minority largely residing in the Southern Island of Mindanao. During the course of this 30-year armed conflict, also commonly termed as the "Bangsamoro Rebellion-, much research has been undertaken to document the cause, history, and handling of the conflict.
This essay will attempt to document the causes of the secessionist movement, and identify these causes as being a mixture of the primordialist and interventionist theory.
However, before reviewing the causes of the armed movement, it is necessary to first understand the history of Islam and the armed movement in the Philippines.
HISTORY OF ISLAM IN PHILIPPINES.
The Arrival of Islam to the Philippines.
Of the 84 million citizens in the Philippines today, 92% believe in the Christian faith, while Islam is the second most wide-spread religion with 5% of the population being Muslims . However, despite its minute proportions with respect to the Christian majority, Islam has been prevalent in the Philippines since the 13th Century, even before Christianity reached Filipino shores. .
It is commonly believed that Islam first made its way to the Philippines around 1275 by way of Muslim missionaries who arrived at Jolo, the largest of the Sulu islands in the Philippine archipelago, to trade. By the late 14th Century, Jolo had become a popular port of call for Arabian missionary traders, resulting in the construction of the first Filipino mosque nearby on Simunul Island, near Jolo. In 1450, a Saudi Arabian, Sayyid Abu Bakr, established the Muslim Suluk Sultanate in Jolo, spreading its political and religious influence around the region and even sharing diplomatic and commercial relations with neighboring sultanates in Brunei and Malaysia. .
The Spanish Conquest of the Philippines.
Less than a century later, the Spaniards introduced Christianity to the Philippines when they arrived in the Philippines in 1521.