‘Massacres during Marcos regime gave birth to Moro resistance’
DAVAO CITY — A militant Moro group has reminded former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile that at least four massacres of Muslims under dictator Ferdinand Marcos had driven the Moro people in Mindanao to launch an armed resistance to the dictatorship.
Reacting to Enrile’s claim that the Jabidah massacre was a hoax, Jerome Succo Aba, spokesperson for Suara Bangsamoro, said the massacres ignited the Moro people’s armed struggle for independence and self-determination.
“Enrile’s delusional claim that no massacre, not even the Jabidah massacre, happened was a treacherous lie intended to erase from our memory the murderous ways of Marcos’ martial law, and in a way, absolve him (Enrile) of his crimes as the architect of martial law,” Aba said in a statement early this week.
The Marcos regime “ravaged Moro communities, claimed 200,000 Moro lives and caused a diaspora of Moros out of Mindanao, around half a million of them forced to flee to Sabah, Malaysia,” he added.
As the dictator’s defense minister, Enrile served as martial law administrator until he broke away from Marcos in 1986 in a failed coup that led to the Edsa People Power Revolution.
No Jabidah massacre?
Aba belied Enrile’s claim that there was no Jabidah massacre. He said 27 Moro youths recruited by the military for a covert operation to instigate an insurrection in Sabah were massacred on March 18, 1968.
Enrile made the claim in “JPE: A Witness to History,” an interview by the dictator’s son, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., that was filmed and posted last week on social media, sparking outrage among groups that fought the dictatorship.
“We will never forget the Jabidah massacre,” Aba said. “Those Moro youth were executed because they were defiant against their mission upon discovering that it involved killing Muslims in Sabah.”
Aba said aside from the Jabidah massacre, which later gave birth to the Moro National Liberation Front led by founding chair Nur Misuari, there were other massacres of Moros. Among them was the Manili massacre in 1971 where 70 people were killed inside their mosque at Manili village, Carmen town, North Cotabato province.
This was followed by the Tacub massacre, also in 1971, where at least 40 Moros returning home after a failed attempt to vote in a special election, were murdered by soldiers at a checkpoint in Tacub town, Lanao del Norte province.
In the Palimbang massacre in 1974, soldiers rounded up residents of several villages in Palimbang town, Sultan Kudarat province, and shot them inside the Tacbil mosque at the coastal village of Malisbong. More than 1,500 were killed, Aba said.
“We have long clamored for justice for our relatives who were brutally killed by state forces and paramilitary groups spawned by Marcos’ martial law,” Aba said.
“Yet, Enrile and Bongbong’s denial of the massacres committed by the government during martial law is another act of injustice to the memories of slain innocents and martyrs,” he added.
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