ARMM commemorates ‘Jabidah massacre’
Officials and employees of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, led by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, stage a “walk for peace” as a ceremonial start of their observance of the “week of peace” in commemoration of the March 18, 1968 Jabidah Massacre. (JOHN UNSON)
The rank-and-file personnel of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao launched at the ARMM compound on Wednesday the “Bangsamoro Week of Peace” in commemoration of the Jabidah Massacre on March 18, 1968.
The Jabidah Massacre was chronicled as a gruesome incident where government forces killed a number of mutinous Moro recruits being trained by the Marcos regime to start a rebellion in Sabah, and reclaim the oil-rich island-state from Malaysian control.
“We should not forget the Jabidah Massacre. It fanned the flames of the Moro uprising, which we shall soon see resolved peacefully via the Mindanao peace process,” ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said in a message during the launching of the week of peace in the autonomous region.
Hundreds of ARMM employees began their observance of the week of peace, to culminate next week, with a “walk for peace” just after dawn Wednesday inside the 32-hectare regional government compound in Cotabato City
The observance of the week of peace is a yearly activity in the autonomous region, meant to remind the ARMM’s Moro communities of how an incident 46 years ago ushered in the births of the Mindanao Independence Movement in 1969, and, subsequently, that of the Moro National Liberation Front, from where the MILF splintered from in the early 1980s.
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The ARMM’s incumbent vice governor, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, said he was still a child when his father, then Lanao del Sur Congressman Rashid Lucman, gave sanctuary to Jibin Arula, the lone survivor in the Jabidah Massacre, following his rescue by fishermen in an open sea off Bataan, away from Corregidor, where the young men lined up and shot one after another by government troops.
“He (Arula) was being hunted then by the military apparently to silence him for good,” Lucman said.
He said his patriarch and the then Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., father of President Benigno Aquino III, helped to hide Arula from the Marcos-led police and military to allow Arula to shed light on the massacre.
“There is no Mindanao peace process to speak off now if not for that massacre incident,” Hataman said.
Hataman also called on the ARMM official and employees to continue supporting the peace talks.
He said the government and the MILF, “by all indications,” are to sign a final peace deal – the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) — within the next four weeks.
The MILF and the GPH panels are aiming to replace the ARMM with a more politically and administratively empowered Bangsamoro political entity, based on the CAB, before the term of incumbent regional officials end on June 30, 2016.
Hataman said he and members of his cabinet are ready to vacate their posts and facilitate the transition from ARMM to an MILF-led Bangsamoro entity as soon as an enabling measure, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, is enacted into law and ratified via a plebiscite.
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