“Now is the time for the Moro people to lift the veil of compliance to the US-Aquino regime, and intensify the fight to protect the rights of the Moro people.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA — The progressive group Suara Bangsamoro called on the Moro people to “intensify the fight against national oppression and for true freedom and the right to self-determination,” on the the 47th year of the Jabiddah Massacre.
“Now is the time for the Moro people to lift the veil of compliance to the US-Aquino regime, and intensify the fight to protect the rights of the Moro people from the onslaught of violations of this current regime,” Amirah Ali Lidasan, Suara Bangsamoro national president.
On March 18, 1968, at least 23 young Tausug recruits from Sulu were gunned down by their military trainors in Corregidor Island. The Moro recruits reportedly tried to complain to higher ups about hardships in their covert training, codenamed ‘Jabidah,’ which was meant to capture the disputed island of Sabah.
The incident angered the Moro people and led to the formation of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) by Nur Misuari, which waged armed struggle for secession of Muslim Mindanao. The MNLF signed a peace pact with the Ramos administration in 1996.
The date is now commemorated as Bangsamoro Freedom Day in accordance with the Muslim Mindanao Act.
MNLF’s splinter group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), continued the armed struggle, until it signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (Cab) with the Aquino administration in 2014. The peace process will be completed with the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a referendum, and the formation of the Bangsamoro political entity.
The MILF had come under attack from some politicians and lawmakers, who also questioned the peace process and the BBL, in the wake of the Mamasapano clash which cost the lives of 44 elite cops, 18 MILF men, and at least two civilians.
Lidasan said the Aquino administration has a “divisive and duplicitous peace policy,” as government troops continue to attack Moro communities as part of the US “Global War on Terror.”
The government’s “operations of reprisals against the Mamasapano encounter” had intensified human rights violations against civilians, and bolsters Moro people’s doubts to the sincerity of the government in resolving the conflict in Mindanao,” she said.
“The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the BBL is being used as a leverage to make the MILF succumb its struggle for the right to self-determination along the confines of the Philippine Constitution and the interests of the members of Senate and Congress,” Lidasan said.
Lidasan pointed out that there are still 327 Moro civilians who continue to languish in detention in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, some of them since 2001, as part of government’s commitment to the US War on Terror.
“Now is the time to expose the Aquino administration of its negligence to the internally displaced persons caused by its all-out offensives against the MNLF and the MILF,” Lidasan said.
Progressive groups and victims of human rights violations gathered in major cities in Mindanao, in Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, Iligan and Davao City, to protest “the continuing implementation of policies and military operations of the US- Aquino regime that continue to violate the rights of the Moro people, destroy their communities and livelihood, forcing displacement and diaspora.”
In Elian village, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Suara Bangsamoro led evacuees to march to the village hall to protest the government troops that had encamped, along with two armed personnel carriers. This is in violation of international humanitarian laws, which prohibits military use of civilian facilities, said Jerome Aba, Suara Bangsamoro spokesperson.
Suara Bangsamoro said that there are now almost 100,000 evacuees in Maguindanao and its nearby areas in Central Mindanao, where government troops the military had intensified its operations against forces of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. In Zamboanga city, evacuees from the 2013 standoff between government and MNLF troops are still in makeshift shelters.