Thursday, September 15, 2005

Political Dynamics in Philippines-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1968-1998

Philippines-Saudi Arabia relations is unique and really one of its kind. Republic of the Philippines is practically dependent on the petroleum products of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest supplier of oil. On the other hand, Philippines is branded as the world’s second largest exporter of Overseas Workers, that helped her to survive economically. The inhabitants of these countries have centuries-old trading relations. Moreover, cultural and religious ties of the two nations-states is an indispensable element, Saudi Arabia being the care-taker of the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madina, visited by the able Muslims in the world to perform pilgrimage (hajj) including the Muslims in the Philippines as one of the pillars in Islam.

This research paper attempts to prove the existence of a foundation of mutual benefits in the diplomatic and consular ties of the Philippines and the Saudi Arabia during the administrations of President Ferdinand E. Marcos to that of President Fidel V. Ramos, from 1968 to 1998, and examines the provability of strengthening that relationship. Thus, it is designed to answer the following: 1) How Philippines-Saudi Arabia relations have mutually benefited each other; 2) What the impediments are in the tie-up between the two-politically independent states; 3) How these relations are turned into politically, economically, and socio-culturally productive partnership and cooperation between Philippines and Saudi Arabia; and (4) What the implications are of these ties to the two nation-states.

This work is not only essential because of its probable contributions to the realm of history, economics, politics and governance in general and in the field of diplomatic history of the Philippines and Saudi Arabia in particular, that would help in opening an avenue towards the challenging field of research, but also because of its uniqueness and relevance nowadays, not to mention its probable input in widening the horizon of the concerned, the governing and the governed.

A portion of a final paper in Political Science 260 under Prof. Grace Gorospe Jamon, Ph.D., at the Department of Political Science, CSSP, University of the Philippines (2002). This research work was geared towards the author's Master's Thesis at UP-Diliman.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

IRANUN: A Dynamic Ethno-linguistic Tribe in Southern Philippines

This study[1] shows that there exists a dynamic ethno-linguistic tribe known as Iranun even prior to the advent of Islam in mainland Mindanao, and affluent in terms of indigenous culture and civilization. The dynamic characteristics and transformation of this ethno-linguistic tribe is the main focus of this research work aside from proving her being a distinct tribe, although interrelated, from the M’ranao and Tau-saraya (the present-day Maguindanaon) and other ethno-linguistic tribes in Southern Philippines. Moreover, the Iranuns occupy a substantial portion of historic places in Mindanao, Sulu, Palawan, Sabah and other places of the Malay world.

Up to this present juncture, no comprehensive study is conducted about the Iranun as an ethno-linguistic tribe, especially by an Iranun himself who knows the language and local history, and who has access to some primary and secondary sources from local---tarsilas, kitabs, and tudtulan---and foreign data to establish his claim. In the light of colonial resistance, this dynamic people was termed by the Spanish authorities as Illano, Ilano, Ilana, Hilalones, Illanum, Illanun, or simply Moros and Mohametanas, being the defenders of the present day Illana Bay (Moro Gulf), and by US colonial writers in an over-simplistic manner as Moros, Mohamedans, marauders, pirates, raiders, slave traders, and “lords of the eastern seas.”

Historical methodology (oral and local history method through interviews transcribed by the proponent) with content analysis as well as linguistic and other anthropological methodologies were used in this study. The role of the Iranuns in the Maguindanao and Sulu Sultanates and other Islamic-inspired social institutions and their relations with foreign colonial powers was uncovered as a contribution to the body of knowledge. This modest study by an insider, although limited, tries to widen the horizon of the people in the social arena by paving the road towards understanding the Iranun as a people, their language, places of origin, way of life, and relations with other peoples in the Philippines and the Malay world.

[1] A paper presented by Esnaen M. Catong at the 4th National Philippine Studies Conference on September 17-18, 2004 at the Golden Pine Hotel and Restaurant, Baguio City sponsored by the Philippine Studies Association and the University of the Philippines-Baguio.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Graduation Picture at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City Posted by Picasa

Teng's Corner

Posted: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:30 am

UP in the 21st Century
Esnaen M. Catong
Ph.D. Student (CSSP), UP Diliman

At the outset, congratulations to President Emerlinda R. Roman and the other new leaders of the country's premier university!

Amidst crisis, the University of the Philippines has vibrantly proven herself in serving the nation and the people of Asia in the past several decades, and the rest is history. What role will the university play in 21st century and beyond will be more interesting to see.

The new university administration’s biggest challenge would be the upcoming centennial celebration considering the economic condition of the country. The university’s performance especially in the realm of research output, strength of faculty, state subsidy, will be gauged not only by the influential church-ruled academic institutions in the country but also by the fast-growing national universities in Asia.

In this light, let me emphasize that it is in the best interests of the Filipino people if the UP leadership will establish more linkages not only in the country's academic and research institutions but also in the Asia-Pacific Region, West Asia, and other parts of the world.

The leadership should be more pro-active in the promotion and advancement of engineering, science and technology research programs, and history and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary studies using the inherent talents and human resource capabilities of the brilliant Filipinos here and abroad.

Let us seek the help and assistance of each and every Filipino scholar and of the U.P. alumni for many of them are eager to share. The concept of bayanihan and the spirit of belongingness should be promoted by the leadership for the members of the UP family and community to help the university in various ways.

In these difficult times, the OFW phenomenon should not be seen as a liability but a fair asset for national survival. The national leadership should support technical and health education so that our human resources will be equipped enough in facing the challenges brought about by the stiff competition in the labor market.

In this kind of situation, the university should push for a comprehensive yet affordable OFW re-integration program that includes health, education, and housing programs.

UP should spearhead in promoting peaceful co-existence between brothers and sisters regardless of beliefs, ethno-linguistic tribes, and political aspirations. Of course this can be attained if only our leaders in all institutions, government, non-government, and peoples' organizations, sectarian as well as non-sectarian, will lead by example.

UP as a prime institution of higher learning should lead the country in fostering a transparent mechanism for a corrupt-free society.

We should continue working hand in hand towards a highly educated society which does not sacrifice the socio-economic component of the nation. Let us maintain and enhance academic freedom, respect for human dignity, and religious tolerance in the UP academic community.

Finally, we should take care of the university's human resources. Our faculty and staff deserve reasonable salary, housing, and other benefits to uplift their morale. The retirees of the university should be accorded utmost honor and respect for they were instrumental in the being of the university. Above all, let us not forget the disadvantaged members of Philippine society… In so doing, the University of the Philippines will rise again.

Mabuhay ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas!

The Arab-Filipinos in History and Philippine Society

Review of related literature reveals that the affluence of the Arab-Filipinos in the realm of history and their role in Philippine society remains slightly explored and studied. Although attempts were made by the Spanish writers as part of their colonial strategy and the early American scholars like Dr. Najeeb M. Saleeby, an Arab physician who worked for the US government, as part of their colonial effort for the American forces to assume sovereignty in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan, there was no comprehensive study to understand the relations of the Filipinos and the Arab world. Since then, there were no succeeding studies on the particular subject under the administrations of Presidents Aguinaldo, Quezon to Macapagal. It was only during the Marcos presidency when the Philippine government opened the avenue of research towards understanding the Muslims in the Philippines and their relations with other members of the Muslim world in line with Philippine national interests. During this time, efforts by scholars like Dr. Cesar Adib Majul, a prolific Filipino academic of Syrian Arab descent from Cagayan Valley who in the process of his studies turned Muslim, wrote about the Islamic Influences in the Philippines and observed that one of the many things in common between the socio-culturally related peoples, the Filipinos and Arabs, that need to be explored was the strong sense of history and Islamic heritage.[1]

This research work, although limited, is designed to answer the following: How did the relations of the Arabs and Filipinos come into being? How did the Arabs influence the way of life of the Filipinos, Islamic institutions, and marriage alliances that flourished in the Philippines? How were the Arab-Filipinos integrated in the Philippine and Arab societies? And finally, what are the roles of the Arab-Filipino as a people in Philippine society?

This study shows that the Arab-Filipinos played a vibrant role not only in early history but also in the present-day Philippine society. The policies of integration of the Philippines shaped and influenced their lives as part of the Philippine society. The Arab-Filipinos who followed the Islamic way of life have a hard time in the integration process in the Philippines unlike those who are not identified with the Muslim world. This study also presents some of their experiences as a people.

[1] Esnaen M. Catong, "Philippines-Saudi Arabia Relations, 1968-1998: A Diplomatic History," (MA Thesis, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, 2004), unless otherwise indicated is one of the main sources of this paper.
A research work presented during the National Conference of the U.P. Lipunang Pangkasaysayan held on August 18-19, 2004 at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.