2022 Philippine senatorial race

As possible Marcos presidency looms, Moro Senate bet says: Remember Jabidah massacre

Pia Ranada
As possible Marcos presidency looms, Moro Senate bet says: Remember Jabidah massacre

REMEMBER MINDANAO. Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc speaks during a rally with other Aksyon Demokratiko candidates. Rappler

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Some Marcos supporters would have Filipinos forget the killing of young Muslims in Corregidor that took place exactly 54 years ago and gave birth to Muslim resistance movements
As possible Marcos presidency looms, Moro Senate bet says: Remember Jabidah massacre

MANILA, Philippines – On the 54th anniversary of the infamous Jabidah massacre, a Marcos return to Malacañang appears likely, based on recent voter preference surveys.

Moro senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc appealed to Filipino voters to remember that on March 18, 1968, exactly 54 years ago, Muslim recruits were shot dead by the military in Corregidor during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.

Wala daw Jabidah massacre. Ngunit napatunayan na at nasusulat sa kasaysayan ang Jabidah massacre. Ito ang rason ng Moro rebellion. Kaya nga nagkaroon ng MNLF at ng peace talks at katakot-takot na tagal ng digmaan,” said Gutoc on Thursday, March 17, eve of the massacre’s anniversary.

(Some deny there was a Jabidah massacre. But it has been proven and written in history. This was the reason for the Moro rebelliob. That’s how the Moro National Liberation Front came to be, the peace talks, and the fearsome war that lasted for so long.)

Huwag nating baligtarin o lituhin ang mga Pilipino sa kasinungalingan. Bilang isang Muslim, pinapahalagahan ko ang kasaysayan na naglalahad ng pinagdaanang karahasan ng kapwa ko Muslim,” she added.

(Let’s not confuse or fool the Filipinos with lies. As a Muslim, I value history that shows the violence my fellow Muslims have had to endure.)

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The Jabidah massacre refers to a bloody day during the Marcos regime when over 20 Muslims from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, recruited by the military for a top-secret mission to reclaim Sabah, were gunned down in Corregidor after they protested harsh conditions during their training.

Eight officers and 16 enlisted men were court-martialed in 1968 but all of them were cleared in 1971. The major actors are all dead. No real investigation into the killings ever took place, save for Senate and congressional hearings that yielded inconclusive findings.

The Marcos government denied the massacre happened. One key figure, then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, claimed it was a hoax. Enrile is now supporting Marcos Junior’s presidential bid.

But the massacre galvanized Muslim Mindanao opposition to the Marcos regime and paved the way for resistance groups like the MNLF, precursor to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a group which now governs the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Iqbal on rejecting certain presidential bets

Also on Thursday, Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, in a privilege speech before the Bangsamoro Parliament, said their government should unite behind a presidential candidate who will be a “friend of the Bangsamoro people” if elected.

“We cannot support a candidate who will bring back the horrors of the past, or not honor the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters,” said Iqbal, also an important MILF leader.

The Bangsamoro government, in a press release during last year’s commemoration of the massacre, said the killings and the cry for justice afterwards “paved the way towards a shared understanding of what it means to be Bangsamoro.”

“The story of the Jabidah Massacre will always live in our hearts. As long as there are communities suffering from oppression, as long as there are communities murdered for their identity and as long as peace remains elusive for the Bangsamoro communities, Jabidah will always be relevant and remembered,” reads the write-up by the Bangsamoro Information Office.

Gutoc, a Marawi civic leader and former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member, is running for senator under Isko Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko slate. She is one of the few female Moros aspiring for the job. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.