October 1984 Vol. VI, No. 1
10 July 2022
The issue of land ownership does not spare the Maranao Muslims–it has been a source of much conflict in the region for years. Dumarpa explains in this journal just how grave this issue is. To extract findings for his study, Dumarpa conducted interviews where the respondents identified four major roots of the land problem: land conflict between Muslims and Christians especially in the Cotabato areas, the quest for power and prestige by Muslim politicians, the Muslims’ feeling of religious persecution, and the political rivalries between Muslim and Christian politicians. Four alternative approaches were presented as resolutions to these problems: give back to Muslims their alienated lands, the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement, enhance the power and prestige of both Muslim and Christian politicians, and remove corrupt government officials from their posts whether they be Muslims or Christians. Dumarpa also notes that the traditional system of land ownership among the Maranao still largely exists. This means that there remains a general absence of officially registered land titles, resulting in conflict. The national government, thus, needs to augment its efforts in terms of helping Maranao Muslims adopt the concept of private or individual ownership that is based on the Philippine land system. Indeed, the issue of land ownership and land disputes that fuel conflict in the region has been persistent for decades.
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