How many Muslim has the Philippines?

***The statement that is indicated in this documents was an activities during my college years. Much further research is needed for those learners who wanted to know much more about this topic. This is a mere fragments of its totality.****

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Introduction:

The Philippines in the past few years has not yet reach its population as what we have today. The religion Islam was reduced in  numbers when the Spaniards conquered the Philippines, and the Christianity increased. Many of the Muslim people in the Luzon and Visayas had entered the religion Christianity, while Mindanao still believed in the religion Islam

Over a hundreds of years from the hands of the Spaniards, Muslim people had fought for their own rights. For about three hundred thirty three years under the power of Spaniards, Muslim people and the religion Islam stands firm. Up until American people went to the Philippines for the reasons of educating the  Filipino people, and this brought to what they called commonwealth. Since the year 1918, they’ve tried to gather some data about the Muslim people living in the Mindanao. Unfortunately, they somehow can’t get the accurate data. The decreasing of the population of Muslim was also being understood for the fact that they don’t have adequate supply causing them to look for an alternative solution to live.

This study will get you to understand the reason why Muslim people decrease their population in the year 1918 to 1939. This also include the reasons why the government can’t get the accurate data of the population in Mindanao and the year when the Christian people migrated in Mindanao.

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HISTORY BOOKS YOU MIGHT GET INTERESTED

“The Land of Promise”, this is the another term for Mindanao. But do we know its meaning and why it is called this way? Maybe, most of the readers know the reason. Nevertheless, we do know the idea that Muslim people fought for so many years and yet for some reason, the freedom that they want to attain was not achieved. Even though they struggled so much to put it in realization, still it is not attainable. Muslim people were looking for the freedom they want, fighting for the same reason and for the same cause.

American regime had caused the Philippines to know the term education, as a part of implementing rules for the governance of this country. This involves the birth of the commonwealth in the Philippines. In the year 1918, the Muslim people had to compete with Christian Filipinos who immigrated in large numbers into Mindanao during those times. This massive resettlement was continued in the post war years on a similar scale from 1946 to early sixties, and reduced proportion during last decade. For this reason, the high annual average growth of non-Muslim had increased especially in the seven provinces were Muslim settled Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Palawan., and Zamboanga del Norte. These seven southern provinces in Mindanao were being settled by the Non-Muslim people. One of the possible reason was due to extreme economic necessity that has forced many Maguindanao farmers to sell their lands to adventurous people from Christian communities encroachments. Some of them was forced to retreat to the interior or to migrate to a few towns that have managed to remain predominantly Muslim.

In getting the accurate data, the people who survey here in Mindanao had a tough work and they can’t get the accurate information of the population of Muslim people living in the Mindanao. There were those people who estimated the numbers of the Muslim people, and one of them was Hilario M. Gomez in 1972, who gave a figure between four and five million, or ten or twelve percent in the Manifesto of the Muslim Independence Movement of May 1, 1968. They are the same with the estimation of Alunan C. Glang. This week Sunday magazine said that two million Filipinos or eight percent of the population followed the creed of Islam out of twenty four million people living here in the Philippines. Another estimated reported in 1968 by Antonio Isidro placed the number at 2 million or 5.4 percent of the population. In other words, all the same number was just an estimation of the total number of the Muslim people settling here in Mindanao. That’s why the United Nation Hand Book of Population Census Methods did not recommend questions on religious affiliation because of inexact and incomplete replies usually obtained. This are the reason why they can’t get the accurate data:

  1. Intrinsic to the subject itself.
  2. Compounded in some Muslim areas of the Philippines because of the hostility of the inhabitants to government personnel.
  3. Disturbed conditions in many Muslim sectors in 1970, census takers apparently sometimes made extrapolations based on extremely limited survey.
  4. The mobility of the Philippines Muslim population makes it hard to determine trends of grown or decrease. This true among the one of the major groups. The Tausug, a sea-oriented people, many of whom constantly migrate from coastal settlements in Sulu and other in Borneo, Maguindanao and Palawan.
  5. Some muslim groups overstate their numbers.

Despite of these difficulties, the Bureau of the Census and Statistics will probably yield the best approximation to serve a starting  point. There were six censuses have been taken in the Philippines since 1990. They found out that 96.7% of the Muslim population of the Philippines is to be found in seven of the southern provinces.

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  1. Sulu –with 94% of its Muslim Population
  2. Lanao del Sur –with 91.3%
  3. Cotabato- with 37.3%
  4. Lanao del Norte- with 20.4%
  5. Zamboanga del Sur –with 16.5%
  6. Palawan- with 7.2%
  7. Zamboanga del Norte- 5.1%

According to the censuses , the percentage of Muslims in the total population decreased from 4.29% to 4.23% between 1918 and 1939 and to 4.11% by 1948.This decreasing trends becomes more understandable with these reasons that follows.

  1. Low of standards of public health and sanitation.
  2. Because of ignorance and malnutrition that they are susceptible to disease.

Major cause death among the young

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. Malaria
  3. High percentage of mothers dies in child birth
  4. Less than half the children born reach adulthood, most dying in their first year of life.
  5. The young are permanently weakened by disease.
  6. Their resistance to the governmental policy in the early days of American Regime. This includes that over thousand died in the battle because of opposing the policy which is the ultimate integration of the Fil-Muslim into the body of an independent Philippines.

In short, most Muslim people were lack of knowledge in the medicine. There were no or small numbers of doctors or people who had knowledge on those acquired illnesses and the medication was out of it. In the American regime, Muslim people tried to fight them just like what they had done in the years of the Spaniards but they unfortunately being beaten that causes for a thousands of people to sacrifice their lives in the battle.

The Maguindanao were the largest Philippine Muslim group and they are to be found in Cotabato. The Census of 1970 gives a total of 424,577 Muslim for the province, but Dr. Robert B. Fox set the number for that year between 360,000 and 400,00. The censuses figure would require an average annual increase of 10.8% for each of the twelve years between 1948 and 1960. This would represent an annual increase more than three times as great as that of the annual increase of 3.4% for the whole Philippines during the same twelve-year. A 10.8% annual increase become less credible when it is noted that under wartime conditions between 1939 and 1948. The Maguindanao registered an average annual decrease of  .53 of one percent. Doctor Isidro and Saber graphically portray the situation precisely for the period 1948-1960, when the Maguindanao were supposedly be growing more than three times as rapidly as the rest of the Philippines.

In addition with the census that have done by the Bureau of the Census and Statistics, a comparison of average annual rates of increase for Muslims and non-Muslims in these provinces. It may give some indication of the general trend of population and perhaps a better approximation of the real number of Muslim in the Philippines today. This comparison of trends is given in Table 1 and 2.

TABLE 1

MUSLIM AND NON-MUSLIM POPULATION

TABLE 1

TABLE 2

PERCENT CHANGE IN MUSLIM AND NON-MUSLIM POPULATION

(Growth Unless Otherwise Indicated)TABLE 2

Summary

Therefore as a conclusion, we can say that American and commonwealth regime made the Non-Muslims settle to the Mindanao which was one of the reasons why Muslim people reduced their numbers from their homeland. Gathering the accurate data of the Muslim people was very hard to take it all because of some hitches. Medications and Medical facilities are very few to their places because of lack of knowledge and very few materials that made other Muslim perished due to an illness, especially the young children. If only Muslim people were well aware about the scenario and understand the entire situation they were in, the whole thing will change. Maybe those young children who have lived and suffered might have the chance to live the life of being a child on their own.

As a part of the Muslim people living here in Mindanao, I could say that I’m proud to my ancestors because of the courage, hope and bravery they had shown to attain the victory they wanted for themselves against the Spaniards. However, I could not blame them for selling their properties just to survive.

Even though Mindanao is called as “The Land of the Promise” I could say that someday, the Muslim people in the past decades and their descendants will have the freedom that they are aiming for. From so many years of fighting and sacrificing everything for the goal they want to achieve, in God’s time, it will happen.

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