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Jabidah massacre’s significance to Moro people’s present-day struggle

05:02 AM April 02, 2018

As our forefathers did five decades ago, the Moro youth and students vow to continue the fight for the right to self-determination in defense of the Bangsamoro, even as the government continues to disregard the civil and political rights of the Moro people and wages wars that
destroy people’s lives and communities.

Akin to the Jabidah massacre on March 18, 1968, and a long list of mass killings by the Marcos regime, the Moro people — the Maranao in particular — were subjected to the same situation: Marawi City was bombed incessantly by the military under the pretext of capturing international terrorists. Our fellow Maranao were subjected to various human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests, forced evacuations, and their houses and properties destroyed and looted.

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The Jabidah massacre reminds us of how the Philippine government plotted the taking of Sabah, through a covert military operation — “Oplan Merdeka” — that used the Moro youth as soldiers to stage an attack that would claim Sabah. Defying the operation, these youth were killed and evidence of the operation were covered up.

The Jabidah massacre signaled the legitimacy of the Moro people to take up arms in defense of their communities and people, and wage the struggle for right to self-determination. As the government continues to commit wars and a genocidal campaign, the fervor to continue the arm struggle intensifies.

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The massacre that happened decades ago paved the way for the rebirth of the Moro people’s armed struggle, and the present situation of the Bangsamoro might again ignite the need to revolt.

We must be reminded of the tragedy and significance of the Jabidah massacre in the history of the Moro struggle and the challenges that lay ahead of us.

Let us continue to fight amid martial law in Mindanao and the government’s bogus war against terrorism.

Justice must mean liberation of the Bangsamoro from discrimination, land-grabbing, militarization, and national oppression. Justice must mean our right to self-determination.

A-JAY DATUAN, chair, League of Filipino Students, MSU main campus

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TAGS: A-Jay Datuan, Inquirer letters, Jabidah Massacre, Moro people
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