WMSU-Based Movement Aims to Resolve Leadership Issue of Sulu Sultanate
February 6, 2006

THE Sulu Sultanate Restoration Movement (SSRM) is taking steps to resolve the several conflicting claims to the position of Sultan of Sulu through a series of consultations, dialogues and information campaigns among the datus, ulama, other leaders and inhabitants of the sultanate.

In a meeting held onMonday at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), where SSRM originated and is based, movement spokesman Prof. Ali Yacub said the campaign will stres “urgency and legitimacy of the move to restore the Sultanate of Sulu.” SSRM aims to proclaim and enthrone the duly-recognized monarch sometime in April, he said.

Prof. Yacub said the installation of the Sulu sultan will also pave the way for the formal declaration of independence by the sultanate as a sovereign state. The SSRM aims to facilitate the establishment of a constitutional monarchyin sultanate’s territory, he said.

The SSRM agreed to convene the royal datus and ulama next month in WMSU to thresh out the leadership issue of the sultanate. The datus constitute the Majlis di Raja and willelect the eventual sultan after they draft the system for selection and proclamation of the monarch.

Prof. Yacub said the movement has agreed to pursue these aims solely through peaceful means and “any suggestion of armed struggle is completely and automatically rejected and condemned.”

The organization last year successfully installed Dr. Ibrahim Bahjin as Paramount Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo. However, at least three other persons continue to claim to be the legitimate sultan of the 500-year old kingdom.

The SSRM has taken the position that the Sulu sultanate region shouldbe recognized as an independent state because it wasnever assimilated into the colonial Spanish rule, who erroneously included it in the sale of its Philippine territory in the 1898 Treaty of Paris to the United States government. Since then, successive colonial and Philippine governments have considered Sulu as part of the Philippine republic. (Rey-Luis Banagudos / PAO, WMSU)