Press Statement | 18 March 2018
In the 50th year commemoration of the Jabidah massacre
THE BANGSAMORO MUST NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, GIVE UP ITS ARMED RESISTANCE AGAINST THE US-DUTERTE REGIME
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindanao joins the Bangsamoro in remembering the sixty-eight young Moro soldiers who, five decades ago, were conscripted by the AFP to train as operatives for Operation Merdeka, a diabolical Marcos-instigated adventure to invade Sabah. On March 18, 1968, they fell as victims to a horrific mass slaughter perpetrated by the US-Marcos regime and the AFP, which is now infamously known as the Jabidah massacre.
When the young Moro trainees found out that they were secretly training in Corregidor to invade Sabah and inflict harm to other Muslims in the said island, they stood their ground to vehemently defy Marcos’s directive. Sensing that the plan of invasion was about to crash, Marcos ordered the AFP to murder the young Moro trainees to avoid the operation from being exposed. All of the young Moro died, save for one, Joven Arula, who managed to escape to tell his story.
The Jabidah massacre has taught the Filipino people that under a semifeudal, semicolonial social system that is perpetuated by a state, which was then held by the iron grip of the dictator Marcos, under the aegis of the ruling classes of landlords, big comprador bourgeoisie and US imperialism, the Moro people’s general welfare and their genuine right to self-determination is completely disregarded. In the long history of Bangsamoro oppression, the state employs low-intensity conflict to keep the Moro people divided and prevent them from uniting in the name of their right to self-determination.
The systemic oppression of the Bangsamoro continues to this day, fifty years after the Marcos-instigated Jabidah massacre, under the reign of the US-Duterte regime. The most devastating manifestation of the oppression of the Bangsamoro to date is the US-Duterte-instigated Marawi seige, where hundreds of thousands of Moro civilians evacuated from their homes as livelihood and businesses were flattened by incessant bombings and shelling for five months.
Duterte conveniently used “terrorism” as a pretext and painted the Maute family, which was locked in a rido against the ruling Gandamra clan, as “terrorists” to justify not just his horrendous attacks against Marawi but also his declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao in order to extend his suppression against the Moro outside of Marawi.
Any Moro who does not prostrate himself to the plans of Duterte are persecuted and labeled as “terrorists.” Duterte also dangles as a tool to pacify the Moro people the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which he promised to be passed by January this year. But the BBL, for which the version pending before Congress is highly diluted, is clearly not a priority of Duterte’s supermajority in Congress and appears headed towards the backburner.
Should the BBL fail to be enacted into law, many among the MILF, the BIAF and other Moro armed groups professed that they will resume the armed resistance against the reactionary government. Thus, a resurgence of a Bangsamoro armed struggle of an even wider scale is in the offing. However, even if the BBL is enacted into law, it will entail an even worse impact on the Moro people as it will make the Bangsamoro completely beholden to the powers, whims and continued oppression of the ruling classes and the reactionary government.
Despite bragging about his Moro blood, Duterte is virtually at war against the Moro people by way of Martial Law in Mindanao. After the devastation of Marawi City, part of Duterte’ continuing war is targeting the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other Moro armed groups, as well as legitimate progressive Moro groups that mount protests against Duterte’s intrinsically anti-Moro schemes.
Duterte’s spin doctors also flood the media with deceptive news of BIFF members “surrendering and laying down their arms,” which are obviously meant to confuse and further divide the Moro people.
These continuing combat and deceptive schemes are meant to take control of the ancestral lands of the Moro on Mindanao, which are known to be rich sources of energy and minerals, such as the Liguasan Marsh in the Cotabato basin.
The intensified war against the Bangsamoro is part of the Asia-pivot design of US imperialism to buttress its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region, where China is also increasing its hold. The US Armed Forces has launched Operation Pacific Eagle–Philippines, an all-out US counterinsurgency operation in the country that allows them to directly operate against “terrorists,” establish new military bases of which 6,000 hectares of land is granted to them as military reservation, and, use it as springboard for its war against China and North Korea, and establish its claim over the South China Sea.
In this context, The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the Moro people to remain steadfast in their unity and press the Duterte regime to end the long-standing oppression of the Bangsamoro and truly respect their right to self-determination.
In the face of the AFP’s/PNP’s continuing attacks, the Bangsamoro must steel its resolve to further strengthen its armed resistance and never under any circumstance, must Moro fighters lay down their arms and surrender before a rampaging common enemy. It is only by way of armed revolution can oppression such as the Jabidah massacre end, and the most basic problems of the Moro people be resolved.
The NDFP-Mindanao, together with its allied organization, the Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO), is one with you in your continuing struggle for your genuine right for self-determination, and just and lasting peace for Mindanao and the country.#
Ka Joaquin Jacinto