MPOS-BARMM led the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Manili Massacre with the theme: Revisiting the Past, Shaping the Future
Kabacan, North Cotabato — June 19, 2021 marks the 50th (Golden) Anniversary of the Manili Massacre that transpired in Barangay Manili, Carmen, North Cotabato on June 19, 1971. This incident is one of the recognized historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people. It involves the murderous killing of at least seventy (70) Muslims, including innocent women, children, and elderly, inside a Masjid in that area. The incident enraged the call for Moro opposition against the ILAGA (Ilonggo Land Grabbing Association) – a southern extremist paramilitary group in Mindanao – and to the Marcos Administration in general. Some Muslim leaders, students, and peace advocates called the attention of the former President Marcos to stop the apparently government-sanctioned atrocities being perpetrated by the ILAGA against the Muslims in Mindanao.
The Ministry of Public Order and Safety – BARMM led the commemoration as part of its peace building programs which includes the promotion of transitional justice and reconciliation. This is intended to memorialize the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people, inculcate the same on the minds of the young generation, as well as to advance transitional justice and reconciliation as an effective means towards healing and reconciliation.
The commemorative program consisted of two (2) parts. The first part is the commemoration proper – Learning Session and Conversation with the Survivors. It was held at 8th Avenue, Kabacan, North Cotabato on the morning of Saturday, June 19, 2021. This was participated by around fifty attendees coming from different sectors such as representatives of non-government organizations, youth, women, MILF- Social Welfare Committee, North Cotabato Local Government Units, Barangay Officials of Manili, and Area Coordinators from Kabacan, Pikit and Carmen clusters of the Special Geographic Area Development Authority of the BARMM. This part includes commemorative messages, lecture on the Manili Massacre, open forum, and conversation with the survivors of the massacre. The survivors present were Ms. Hadiguia Langalen, Mr. Ting Nagli and Mr. Sammy Gumaga. They emotionally shared their respective personal accounts on the incident.
Area Coordinator, Habib Jabbar, of the Kabacan Cluster graced the event and welcomed the MPOS personnel, guests, and participants with warm words in commemorating this significant event in his area of responsibility. He also uttered some recommendations for the consideration of the MPOS and the Carmen cluster. On behalf of MPOS’ Minister, Hussein P. Munoz, Director-General Atty. Al-Rashid L. Balt expressed the ministry’s gratitude for the participants in sharing their precious time to attend the commemoration and hear the living testimonies of the Manili Massacre Survivors. He explained the mandate, duties and functions of the MPOS in relation to the commemoration. He also emphasized that incidents, like the Manili Massacre, serve both as a guide and a reminder that the positions they are occupying for, as workers of the Bangsamoro Government, are founded on the blood of martyrs, victims, and innocent Muslims that died as a result of the struggle against oppression and right to self-determination. “Wala kami dito kung wala ang mga mujahideen o martyrs, at walang mga mujahideen o martyrs kung hindi nagyari ang mga historical injustices, katulad ng Manili Massacre”, according to him.
Mr. Taher Solaiman, a resident of Carmen and a research fellow, discussed the brief history of the Manili Massacre. He started his discussion with a statement that the Manili Massacre cannot be disassociated with the ILAGA atrocities. It is part and parcel of the genocidal plan to eradicate the Moros in Mindanao that started in Upi, Maguindanao to Lanao areas. According to him, before the ILAGA reached Lanao, they operated in North Cotabato such as in Barangay Manili of Carmen. He also explained that the incident was published internationally and even called the attention of former Libya President, Muammar Gadafi, prompting him to raise the issue during one of the meetings of the Organization of Islamic Countries, now Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Taher ended his discussion that Manili Massacre in 1971 was not the only massacre committed against the residents of Manili as there was another brutal killings, an ambush, sometime in 2001 during the all-out war of former President Estrada against the MILF.
The second part – Study Tour and Community Conversation – was conducted at the massacre site in Barangay Manili on the afternoon of the same day. This consisted of visitation of the actual place of the massacre; conversation with the survivors, family of the victims, and residents of Manili; and a ziyara or prayer for the victims. During this part, some of the attendees could not avoid to raise their deep anxieties and sufferings they are enduring. After fifty years, they are still seeking justice for the victims and families. They also raised their apprehension as to the non-inclusion of their Barangay to the Special Geographic Areas of BARMM. They feel that they could no longer benefit from the services of the Bangsamoro Government. For this reason, the MPOS responded that the Bangsamoro Government could still render services to Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM by virtue of Section 12, Article VI of the BOL.