Remembering Jabidah Massacre: Moro people must persist in armed resistance vs. chauvinism, state repression

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Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao

The NDFP-Mindanao is one with the entire Moro people in remembering the tragic Jabidah Massacre, when, 46 years ago, 64 young Moro men were sent to Corregidor to undergo military training for an ambitious Marcos-dictated mission to Sabah, Malaysia, dubbed Oplan Merdeka, that ended in their gruesome summary execution.

When the trainees knew that they were being prepared to start a war against their fellow Muslims in Sabah, they opposed the mission by refusing to participate in it, which did not rest well with Marcos and his military henchmen. To contain this “mutiny” and avoid being exposed, Marcos then ordered the execution of all the young Moro trainees; only one, Jibin Arola, survived to divulge the horrific details of the massacre.

The Jabidah massacre is but one appalling event in a long history of violent subjugation and mass slaughter of the Moro people had to endure.  During the bloody era of the American colonization, the carnage at Bud Dajo in 1906 and at Bud Bagsak in 1913 saw the annihilation by American soldiers of entire Moro communities in Mindanao.  In recent history, the extensive casualties and damage brought about by Estrada’s all-out war against the MILF, dubbed Oplan Balanghay, gained no less than international notoriety and condemnation.

Decades of oppression however have not emasculated but instead solidified the Moro people’s   steadfastness to bravely fight for their right to self-determination and liberation.  In the aftermath of the Jabidah massacre in particular, Moro youth and students, along with the broad Moro masses were propelled to rise against the Marcos regime and, in the process, established armed resistance movements such as the MNLF, then the MILF and now the BIFM.

Today, under the US-Aquino III regime, the Moro people are faced once more with a series of all-out attacks, launched, in particular, against the BIFF and other Moro armed groups in the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sulu.  A huge number of AFP units with direct assistance from the US Armed Forces are once again subjecting several Moro communities to mortar, cannon-fire, aerial bombings and ground attacks, which have already resulted in the evacuation of tens of thousands of Moro families and individuals.

Clearly, Aquino III’s peace effort in Mindanao has revealed itself not the “bringer of peace” as it claims to be but the harbinger of real terror by using his US boss’s “war on terror” to justify its all-out war against the BIFF, which, at the same time, is placing undue pressure on the MILF-BIAF to run after BIFF. The MILF, unfortunately, has been held back from raising its protest against this pressure to somehow avoid spoiling the passing into law of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, even as an increasing number of legislators are now countering its enactment.  This debacle reeks of how Dictator Marcos once used young Moro men to realize its territorial ambition in Sabah.

Faced with these challenges, the Moro people have no other recourse but to persist in their tradition of armed resistance against state oppression and against the continuing plunder of the natural wealth in Moro lands.  In order to realize the genuine right to self-determination they aspire for, there is a need to counter pervasive chauvinism and struggle to resolve the country’s basic problems – feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and US imperialism – that are inimical to both the Bangsamoro and the entire nation.

The NDFP-Mindanao, for its part, continues with its commitment to fight for the interests of the Bangsamoro against a common enemy not only to attain emancipation for the Moro people but for the entire Filipino nation as well.

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