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Hataman asks Bangsamoro never to forget Jabidah Massacre

 • 17:06 PM Fri Mar 18, 2016
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY -- Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) today reminded the Bangsamoro people not to forget the lives offered in the name of peace in Mindanao. Today we continue this difficult task of remembering, a task that is necessary in the greater struggle for our rights as Bangsamoros, a struggle that we wage for lasting peace and genuine justice, Hataman said in his message in commemoration of the 48th Jabidah Massacre in Corregidor. He said it has been almost five decades since the Jabidah Massacre left its mark on the Bangsamoro consciousness, a mark akin to a wound that has never fully healed as its scab is picked over and over again with every other act of injustice committed against our people. The regional governor said for Bangsamoro people, the story of Jabidah needs no introduction. In our minds and hearts, there is no question that it happened and that it is true. In our history, there is no question about its rightful place in the long narrative of our struggle for self-determination. The infamous Jabidah Massacre refers to the mass killing of about 60 Moro recruits trained by Marcos government allegedly to invade Sabah, Malaysia. Hataman said for many other Filipinos, the reality of the Jabidah Massacre remains either unknown or denied. In the midst of all the unknowns and denials, this is what we knowand During the Marcos regime, Bangsamoro men were taken to Corregidor from the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi, and were recruited to be part of an elite commando group called Jabidah. This group has been tasked to carry out Operation Merdeka, an operation that involved destabilizing Sabah, allowing the Philippines to take over the area. Hataman recalled the incident by narratingand One night, their military handlers began to take them by the dozen to a remote airstrip. Here our brothers were executed as they were shot with machine guns, making sure not one of them survived. They were indiscriminately shot at and summarily executed, after being treated unfairly throughout the duration of their supposed training. The number of Bangsamoro men killed ranges from eleven to the thousands. No one knows for sure. This is because our history knows not the exact numbers or dates, because our history has always been subjected to denial and erasure, he added. That incident triggered a series of atrocities by the Marcos military to Moro communities in southern Philippines, triggering Moro uprising the years that followed. After so many of our communities have been burned down, so many of our families torn apart by war, and so many of our children growing up while fighting injustice, the murder of our brothers who wanted only to fight for our country was the final straw. Jabidah became the spark which started the flames of our struggle, he said. It is our history that speaks of our pain and healing, of conflict and survival, of losing and seeking our rightful place in this country. It is a history that has been seared onto our minds and our hearts by the fire of our long and difficult struggle, because no there is no other way for us to remember, the regional governor said as he declared non working holiday in the five province ARMM. Never again will we allow our people be hidden by the shadows of the past, and we will never forget our people whose lives depend so much on peace and whose deaths strongly demand justice, he sai. ARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

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