A Message From COCOY, Sulu Human Rights Defender
(Translator’s Note: I received this original message by email last Sunday, February 19, 2012. It is originally written in Bahasa Sug by my fellow Tausug colleague, Temogen “Cocoy” S. Tulawie, Sulu-Human Rights Defender. I strive to translate this upon his request. Join me in supplicating and entrusting his well-being, his wife’s and his offsprings’ to ALLAH who renders justice to anyone who steadfastly grasp His Most Trustworthy Handhold and in total surrender to ALLAH’s Will. Aameen Ya Rabb)
The Original Message in BAHASA SUG:
Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi taala wa barakatuhu!
Muna-muna hi tukbal ku in pag-sukul pa Allah wayruun niya aku piya saran iban sin anak asawa ku. Mataud hinang sabab sin Allah in manga tao daing ha dugaing-dugaing kawman iban dugaing-dugaing bangsa supaya in baran ku iban sin ahli ku dih landu mag lahdus daing ha kasigpitan. Damikyan hi tukbal ku in pag-sukul ha manga parhimpunan timatabang kaku: Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC); Balay Rehabilitation Center; Saligan; Task Force Detainees of the Phil. (TFDP); Consortium of BangsaMoro Civil Society (CBCS); Initiative for International Dialogue (IID); AKBAYAN Party List; Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA); HRD-Pilipinas; Jihad al Akbar and PAHRA-WesMin; United Against Torture Coalition (UATC); Free Debt Coalition; Front Line (Protection of Human Rights Defender); Indonosia Legal Aid Foundation; Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) of Hong Kong; Bread for the world of Germany; Non Violence Peace Force (NP);Human Rights Watch International. Lamud in manga way ku nasabbut.
Manga kakasi raayat sin Lupah Sug, ka ingatan ku sin makasi malasa kamu kaku, ka ingatan ku mabaya kamu tumabang kaku, sagawa awn sabab bang mayta dih niyu hika pa tarrang in bawgbug niyu kaku. Naka ingat aku nag isun-isun kamu sin bulan naka labay Jan.15, 2012 mataud kamu isun manga Abogaw, Doctor, Professor, iban sin manga CSO’s. Nag isun kamu bang biyah diin in hikatabang niyu kaku, sagawa magtuy ra awn nag puhpuh kaniyu. Mag sabar kitaniyu manga taymanghud, iban tuhan in saksi dih tuud aku mabaya awn daing ka niyu madiskrasiya sabab ku. Amura kuman nasusa aku pasal bang sambil in manga tao ma-taas in pangiskul manga abogaw, doctor, professor iban manga tumpukan sin CSO’s wayna kalimayahan mamung bang unu in kabayaan nila hi pamung, ‘unu na in dabbus sin hula yan? Nagkakahagad aku minsan unu pa in hinangun nila pamissuku ha raayat sin Lupah Sug awn da gumuwa duwa tu tao tumawakkal timindug ha kapatut sin raayat supaya in pag luwaslungsad natu dih mahundung, pagluwaslungsad natu gumuwa daing ha laum sin kapissukaan sin kamiskin iban pagluwaslungsad natu gumuwa daing ha laum sin kapissukuan sin kabuga.
Manga taymanghud, ayaw kamu masusa landu minsan kamu wayruun kiya duhulan nag pa tarrang sin pag-bawgbug niyu kaku, minsan ha pangatayan niyu sadja mahalga malaggu na tuud tatabangan. Awn naka bisita kaku sin kahnu yaun, laung niya kaku Coy bang kami in mag problema makatabang kaw kamu, bawgbugan mu tuud in kapatut namu, sagawa ikaw man in kiyuddan sin biyan dih kami maka tabang kaymu, sah kami umatud iban mang dungug-dungug. Mag sabal kaw tuud manghud dih namu matuku in langit. Kabalikan ku salawat, ayaw kamu mag susa tuud, pasal mataud hihinang sabab sin Allah daing ha dugaing-dugaing hula supaya in baran dih kapasaran. Daindi ha kawman Davao pa Bukidnon, CDO, Iligan, Marawi, Cotabato, GenSan, Pagadian, madakmul manusiya timatabang katu, sambil pa Manila, sin sabtu yaun nag press conference in manga Human Rights org iban manga Peace advocate org ha Manila pasal sin kahalan ku. Sambil pa Indonisia, pa Hong-Kong, pa Germany awn timatabang kaku. In manga ini kabasaran sin Allahu Taala.
Duwa tahun na iban upat bulan aku wayruun naka uwih maun pa Sug. Ma iyan ku, amuna ini in pinaka masigpit liyabayan ku ha kabuhi ku, sambil yari na aku ha laum sin jail ini hangka bulan na aku iban duwa adlaw ha laum ini. Sah amu isab ini in waktu nakapanali aku maraw pasal sin hula ku. Daindi ha laum jail daran kami mag dungug news ha radio, daran ku pag ka dungugan in program ‘matuwid na daan’ sin Pnoy administration, laung ku ha baran ku wayruun miyabut pa Sug in ‘matuwid na daan’ pag yanun nila ini. Bang unu in jimajatu ha waktu hi Gloria masi amura in kahalan sambil pa biyaun, gamman ampa na kimansang in kasigpitan, iban ampa na kimansang in karupangan sin manga nag tatawmaas ha Lupah Sug.
Timubuh in kahiluhalaan ha pangatayan iban ha pikilan sin kamatauran daing katu niyu. Pasal piyapasaran sin National government in local officials sin hula natu, biyah sapali ra sila, supaya halaum na sadja kita niyu ka pissukaan daing ha waktu pa waktu. Piyasaran sin parinta Manila mag takaw, mag kustaw in politicians sin hula natu supaya kitaniyu maglahdus ha kamiskin. Ampa manga taymanghud in kamiskin kimud-dan ha hula natu bukun ula-ula, miyabut na sambil mag taymanghud agad dih na mag tabang-tiyabangi matali sin hambuuk bang niya hi tabang in sukuh niya wayruun ma kapin kaniya para kunsum. Na wala na sambil in pangaddatan natu amuin minsan hi sungit da kuman atas hi dihil ha pang daig bay bang in pang daig bay niya labi ma hapdi daing ka niya. Manga taymanghud, sabab sin kamiskin na pulak kanat kita niyu, nalawa na in pag hambuuk natu (minsan pa in kaawnan sin pag hambuuk siyukat sin agama), wayruun na waktu natu mag-pikil sin hula, in pa mikil natu harap na sadja pa tiyan. Iban bukun sadja piya saran sin parinta Manila mag takaw in na mamarinta ha hula natu, piya saran pa sambil mag-bi, magtipun sinapang, supaya kitanyu damagun muga kanila. Supaya mahinang nila unu-unu na in ka bayaan nila hinangun sambil usibaan in kaanakan babae sin manga raayat miskin biyah sin ‘gang rape’ sin 2009.
Mayta baha ini piyasaran sin national government mag karupangan in na mamarinta hula natu? Marai pasal sin masi kita niyu simi-silawak pa dunya sin kapatut sin pagka-manusiya natu. Pasal kaingatan nila in “kapatut sin pag ka manusiya natu lawang pa kamahardikaan sin bangsa natu”.
Pikil niyu manga taymanghud, ha biyah hayni na in jimatu katuh niyu labi luba na ha manga kataw- taymanghuran natu ha ka gimbahan iban ha ka puan. Awn pa baha manjari natu hinangun ma puas daing sin mag hambuuk kita niyu? Pasal duwa ra kuman in pag pi-an natu, ‘mag-pasad na sadja’ atawa ‘mag-hambuuk kita niyu ampa ma-mikilan’. Subay natu hi tanum pa pikilan natu, bang kita niyu mag-pasad na sadja susunun kita niyu sin huling bata, iban hika sipug kita niyu sin anak apu natu. Dih nila hika pamahalayak hi ama nila hi apu nila nag-luwaslungsad para pa hula, pa bangsa, labi lubah na pa agama sin Allahu Taala. Ayaw natu hinangun sabab in wayruun sinapang natu bang mayta kitaniyu dih makapag luwaslungsad, awn makusug daing ha sinapang, dih natu kagunahan in sinapang, in kagunahan natu ra ingatun natu sadja atawa hatihun natu in kapatut sin pag ka manusiya natu. Absolutely prohibited in parinta mag-degrade katu niyu hipa namam nila katu wayruun rights iban dignity natu. Manga taymanghud, bang unu in kikita niyu kalummuan ha laum sin hula natu ha waktu biayaun, in yan bunga sin nag pasad na sadja kitaniyu.
Bunnal da in pag-yanun “bang in tao marayaw humundung na sadja ha ka hundung niya, amu na yan in waktu mag manja na in shaytan.” Manga taymanghud, in hula natu piyag lilikian sin katan hula ha katilingkal dunya.
Mahuli, dih mahinang sabab in pag jail nila kaku in dih kuna hika pamung in kasabunnalan, iban dih mahinang sabab in pag jail nila kaku taykuran kuna in kiya tagnaan ku halaum sin 13 yrs imangut sin kapatut sin bangsa ku.
Temogen Sulu-Human Rights Defender
The English Translation Version
by Jihad al Akbar:
Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi taala wa barakatuhu!
Foremost, I bestow my thankfulness to Allah for not forsaking me, my wife and my children. Allah made a lot of means and instruments- such as help coming from various communities and diverse nations and/or faiths- so that my family and I will not suffer so much difficulty.
Likewise, I extend my thanks to all the organizations who have been helping me all this time: Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC); Balay Rehabilitation Center; Saligan; Task Force Detainees of the Phil. (TFDP); Consortium of BangsaMoro Civil Society (CBCS); Initiative for International Dialogue (IID); AKBAYAN Party List; Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA); HRD-Pilipinas; Jihad al Akbar and PAHRA-WesMin; United Against Torture Coalition (UATC); Free Debt Coalition; Front Line (Protection of Human Rights Defender); Indonosia Legal Aid Foundation; Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) of Hong Kong; Bread for the World of Germany; Non Violence Peace Force (NP);Human Rights Watch International. I also include all those I may have not mentioned here.
My beloved citizens of Lupah Sug, I know how much you love and value me; I also know that you desire to aid me; however, there is a reason why you cannot manifest openly your support for me. It has come to my knowledge that many from among you lawyers, doctors, professors along with other CSOs have previously conferred last January 15, 2012. You met to strategize about certain ways and means to help me out from my predicament but unfortunately you were as soon stifled. Patience my brethren, let us exercise restraint; and Allah is witness, I do not wish that anyone from you will incur any mishap all because of me. Only there is one thing that saddens me though: if the professionals or highly educated ones -such as lawyers, doctors, professors and CSO groups- lose the "freedom to speak out" what they wish to express, then, what has befallen our homeland now? I believe that whatever oppression they will inflict upon the citizens of Lupah Sug, there still will sprout two to three people who will rise up in defense of the rights of the people so that our struggle will not end---this is our struggle to be emancipated from the confines of oppressive poverty and our striving to be liberated from the shackles of oppressive fear.
My brethren, do not despair that much if you have been thwarted in manifesting your support for me; even if it be merely in your heart, it is as much valuable and great help. Just recently someone visited me and told me, "Coy, if we are the ones in trouble, you have been able to help us, you fully defend our rights, however, when you were the one who's hit, we cannot even help you. We are reduced to be just a mere onlooker and eavesdropper. Please bear with us, our young brother, we are incapable to buttress the sky." I repeat fervently, there is no cause for you to be anxious because Allah has many ways from various zones so that my well-being will not be neglected. There are many people who are helping me here in Davao to Bukidnon, CDO, Iligan, Marawi, Cotabato, GenSan, Pagadian and even in Manila. Just last Saturday, some human rights org in Manila held a press conference regarding my case. Help are coming my way even from as far as Indonesia, Hongkong and Germany. All these are evidence of the Majestic Power of Allah.
I have not returned to Sulu for two years and 4 months now. I can say that this is the most difficult trial that I have undergone in my lifetime, until I am now detained in this cell for a month and two days now. Notwithstanding, this is the moment when I have contemplated well about my homeland. Inside this cell, we listen to news from the radio often. I often hear Pnoy administration's radio program, "Matuwid na Daan." I told myself the straight path that they are proclaiming here has not reached Sulu.
What transpired during the term of Gloria still persists today; I can even say that poverty has worsened, the foolishness of the "Elders" (elective officials) of Sulu has likewise worsened. Chaos has germinated in the hearts and minds in most of us. This is the consequence of the National government that tolerates our local officials; it even seems that they are in connivance with each other so that we will be trapped within oppression from time to time. Manila government has let our leaders and politicians rob us and indulge in corruption of our land so that we will straggle in poverty.
The poverty that has struck us is no petty matter. It has reached the point that even siblings will not help each other. The other one would think if he shares his own share, by tomorrow he will be left with nothing for himself. We even have lost our traditional values that once even what we are about to feed into our mouth we would rather give to our neighbor who has greater hunger than we have.
My brethren, our kinship ties have been severed by poverty, and so we have lost our solidarity (even in fact unity is demanded by our faith). We no longer have the time to think about our homeland, our thoughts are focused to our stomach.
Likewise, Manila government has not only tolerated corruption by those who govern us, it has also ignored their buying and hoarding of arms in order to sow terror among us; so they can do whatever they want according to their whims- this includes despoiling the daughters of the poor masses such as that of the "Gang Rape case in 2009."
Why did the National Government ignore the foolishness of those who govern us? Perhaps the reason could be that we still shout out our dignity and rights as human beings to the whole world; because we are aware that "our substantive rights as human beings is the door that leads to the freedom of our nation."
I ask you my brethren, do you think that in this kind of predicament that we are embroiled in, and most especially that our siblings in the hinterlands and islands are all in, too: do we have any other option apart from the need to unite? Well, we only have two options to choose from: "to just let it be" or "to unite then to reflect." We must implant in our minds, that if we remain indifferent, the next breed of generation will blame us and we shall be our offsprings' and grandchildren's source of shame. They can never proclaim that their father or their grandfather struggled for the ancestral domain, for the nation, and most of all for our deen from Allaahu Taala. Let us not reason out that we failed to wage a struggle in defense just because we were armless, there is more powerful than arms, we do not need arms, all we need to do is to know and understand our human rights. Absolutely the government is prohibited from degrading us, making us feel that we do not have rights and dignity. My brethren, whatever decadence we can see thriving in our midst at the moment is a consequence of our apathy.
There is truth in the saying, "if a good person remains idle in his own inertness that is the moment that Satan shall reign." My brethren, our homeland has become the laughingstock of all nations in the world.
Lastly, my being incarcerated shall NOT become a reason for me to stop from speaking the truth. Likewise, my imprisonment shall NOT become the reason that I will abandon what I have initiated in the span of 13 years striving to achieve the rights of my own people, my own homeland, and my own nation.
Temogen Sulu-Human Rights Defender