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.