Asec Matanog Mapandi, aka Commander Diego, talks about the circumstances of the Massacre of Moro young trainees in Corregidor Island on March 18, 1968. Others MNLF leaders present are (from left) Monib Abbas aka Commander Ronquillo, Datu Meno Manabilang aka Commander Lumbos, Dr. Ali Laguindab, Mufti Ampaso, Sultan sa Raugan, Sultan sa Baloi, among others. MNY
Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
March 18, 2016
Bangsamoro multisectoral representatives including MNLF mujahideen, Top 90 members, the Ulama, women, youth and other sectors gathered in the City Hall compound here to recollect the fateful Jabidah Massacre that happened 48 years ago in Corregidor Island.
In 1967, Bangsamoro men from the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were recruited to be part of an elite group called Jabidah. The group was tasked to carry out ‘Operation Merdeka’, part of a plan that involved destabilizing Sabah, allowing the Philippine government to take over control of the now Malaysian state.
The recruits were eventually killed, indiscriminately shot, on the airstrip in Corregidor. The number of Bangsamoro men killed, as reported by media, ranges from 11 to 68 to 200.
Participants of the commemoration said the Jabidah Massacre commemoration was held for the first time in the Islamic city.
Assistant Secretary Matanog Mapandi aka Commander Diego, Top 90 member Datu Meno D. Manabilang, Dr. Mohammad Ali Laguindab, Sultan Allan Guinar, Monib Abbas aka Ronquillo and others were among those who attended the occasion.
In his speech, Mapandi told the audience on the historical background of the Jabidah Massacre. He recalled how it was connected to the Sabah Claim and why all the massacred victims were trainees recruited from Sulu.
On his part, Sultan Allan Guinar, president of a group called Muslim Federal State Academy, believed federalism is the best alternative to independence.
Dr. Laguindab, on the other hand, said we (the Bangsamoro) could not detach ourselves from the government because “it is already emphasized that what we want is autonomy.”
“It is written,” it is said.
Manabilang, a leader of the 1972 Marawi Uprising said March 18 should not only be remembered as Jabidah Massacre.
“March 18 is also very significant because on March 18, 1935, over a hundred Moro leaders signed the 1935 Dansalan Declaration asking the United States of America NOT to include the Bangsamoro in the then envisioned Philippines Republic of Manuel Quezon,” Manabilang pointed out.
He said they wanted to remain in the United States until such time they would be ready to govern themselves.
Earlier, former Marawi Mayor Omar Soliario Ali arrived and left after he delivered a short message.
In Corregidor Island where the massacre took place, hundreds of sectoral representatives that include the youth, religious groups, peace organizations, and the academe gathered on Friday, March 18, to observe the 48th year of the Jabidah Massacre.
“CSOs play a crucial role in promoting transitional justice to address past human rights violations committed against the Bangsamoro, such as the Jabidah massacre,” Laisa Alamia, ARMM’s executive secretary, said.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman argued that the Jabidah massacre, which occurred on March 18, 1968, is the turning point that led to the decades-old Moro struggle for self-determination.
“Jabidah became the spark, which started the flames of our struggle,” Gov. Hataman said. Yet, many Filipinos still believe the massacre never happened, the governor added.
Only in 2013, when President Benigno Aquino witnessed the 45th commemoration of the massacre, did the national leadership fully recognized the historical injustice done to the Bangsamoro. A historical marker recognizing the killing of the Bangsamoro men was unveiled in 2015 near the airstip where the massacre occurred.
For 21-year-old Johnlypee Mokudef of the Maguindanao Youth Network, the commemoration of the massacre is an effective way to raise the consciousness of the youth about the struggle of the Moros.
“Pagbalik namin sa ground, tutulong kami sa pag-eeducate sa ibang kabataan tungkol sa ipinaglalaban ng mga Bangsamoro (When we return to our areas, we would help in educating the youth on the Bangsamoro struggle),” Mokudef said.
Being a Teduray, an indigenous tribe in Upi, Maguindanao, he hopes that more youth will be encouraged to participate in similar activities for better inter-faith understanding of issues in the religiously diversified ARMM.
Tirmizy Abdullah, an assistant professor of history at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, said the Jabidah Massacre is more than just part of history of the Bangsamoro people, noting it is of religious, cultural and historical significance to the Moro struggle.
The commemoration, which featured a film viewing and tour around the island, bears the theme “Peace is the Justice We Seek.”
The Anak Mindanao partylist spearheaded the activity in Corregidor in coordination with the Corregidor Foundation Inc., Mindanao Forum Inc., and the ARMM. (with story from BPI-ARMM)