49 years after the Jabidah Massacre, mass killings of the Moro people continues – Sandugo

“Massacres of the Moro people continue even after Jabidah. Today, it is Pres. Duterte’s all-out war which brutally killed Nurmayda Abbi, a one year old girl, Hadji Billamin Hassan and Nuruddin Muhlis on March 8 at Brgy. Tum-os Tabuan Lasa, Basilan,” Jerome Succor Aba, co-chairperson of Sandugo said in a forum remembering the Jabidah massacre. The forum entitled “The Jabidah Massacre: Relevance and Challenges to the Current Moro Struggle for Self-Determnation” was held today, March 17, 2017 at the Salam Hall, Asian Center, UP Diliman, Quezon City. It was sponsored by the UP Institute of Islamic Studies, SANDUGO, Moro-Christian Peoples Alliance, UP Diliman Muslim Students Association and the UP Diliman Kabataan Para sa Tribung Pilipino.

The Jabidah massacre was the mass murder of Moro soldiers who were being secretly trained as a special commando unit called Jabidah in Corregidor, Bataan. These soldiers were to part of then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ Operation Merdeka, a plot to infiltrate, destabilize and take back Sabah from Malaysia. They were murdered by elements by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on March 18, 1968 to cover up the leaked plan.

“Our people were massacred to suppress our rebellion against oppression. Instead, these atrocities further sparked and fuelled a more determined Moro people’s struggle for self-determination. For centuries, we continuously fight to break free from oppression. First from foreign colonizers and now against big foreign business interests and their local partners – both Moro and non-Moro big landlord and big businesses who drive us away from our lands and plunder our resources. The Moro masses who remain to live in abject poverty, are in the margins to the access of social services, deprived of decent jobs and lack of education,” Aba said. “We, along with the rest of the Filipinos long for genuine change,” Aba further said.

“But our legitimate struggles are delegitimized by both the US and Philippine governments. Today, our aspirations are being hijacked and distorted by the bandit and terrorist group Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The ASG is reported to have been formed by the US military and even supported by the Philippine military,” Aba said. “Discrimination against Muslims in the form of Islamaphobia has intensified due to these terror groups. But worst, the continuing mass murder of our people becomes justified under the pretext of the ‘war against terror’, today in the Duterte government’s ‘all-out war’ and Oplan Kapayapaan,” Aba continued. “The US government also use this pretext to justify its military presence in Mindanao where it has obvious economic interests,” Aba further continued.

Aba also mentioned the most recent air strikes by the 6th Infantry Division in Brgy. Andabit, Datu Saudi Ampatuan on March 13 allegedly against the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF). “This led more than 300 Moro families to evacuate the area to nearby towns,” Aba said.

“We call on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to stop this all-out war. It is a menace to the lives of civilians including children who only want to live in peace. Pres. Duterte should pull out his troops in our communities,” Aba said.

“The Moro people also want peace in our lands. While we welcome the peace talks between the Duterte government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Sandugo reiterates it call – a just peace can only be attained by addressing the basic issues and resolving the roots of the armed conflict faced by the Moro people and all national minorities,” Aba said.

“Peace for the Moro people and the rest of the nation is eliminating national oppression,” Aba concluded.

Sandugo Kilusang ng Mamamayang Moro at Katutubo Mamamayan para sa Sariling Pagpapasya, is an alliance representing Moro tribes and indigenous peoples groups in the Philippines fighting for land, peace and self-determination. Sandugo was formed in University of the Philippines, Diliman in October 2016 during the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya

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