DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – There is a very vivid similarity between what happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 and the Jabidah massacre 47 years ago.
Aside from helping continue perpetuate injustice on the Bangsamoro people, both incidents were products of covert operations.
To the millennials who have little knowledge about the Bangsamoro and those others who pretend to know Bangsamoro history but decide to ignore the facts, the Jabidah massacre was a product of a clandestine mission that the government of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos hatched in his desire to annex Sabah to the country.
In that plan, the government military secretly trained Moro recruits in an attempt to send them to Sabah to sow terror and eventually conquer the place, only that it was eventually known, prompting the military to massacre the trainees to keep their mouths shut.
Although there was no explanation why the government used the Moro trainees in the botched plan, it is not illogical to assume that it was because Mr. Marcos might have thought it would be better if they were the ones to be placed in the danger zone.
Unfortunately for the government of Mr. Marcos, one of the trainees, Jibin Arula, lived to tell the story.
The incident led Moro leaders, with then University of the Philippines professor Nurullaji Misuari at the helm, to form what eventually became the Moro National Liberation Front.
On the other hand, the Mamasapano incident – calling it a massacre not only provides a different meaning to the word but also tries to fan the armed conflict – has placed in a dangerous situation the 17-year effort to come up with a comprehensive agreement that will pave the way for lasting peace in Mindanao.
Many politicians, by their very nature, have been trying to milk the incident for their personal interests. What makes the argument totally dubious is that many of these politicians, before the incident, were the ones claiming to have tried to work for peace in Mindanao.
So many things have been said about the recent incident, but it seems many members of the media refuse to consider that they not only have done a disservice to their entities by always going after those who would criticize if not the Moro people but the group that claims to represent them, they have also been responsible for fomenting the conflict.
Watching network news or reading the newspapers, particularly those national ones, nowadays becomes a burden to people whose desire is for Mindanao to eventually snare that all-inclusive and elusive peace.
What makes this a very sad situation is that many in the media, who are supposed to be objective or at least could provide both sides of the narrative – have shut themselves to many of the important facts for as long as they can gain more readers or viewers.
Example? Which among the broadsheets and the networks have played the fact that the members of the elite police force were armed to the teeth and that they did not spare the civilian population even when this could have been avoided? The fact is that the news reports were played out to picture that the cops were saints while everyone else was devil.
This makes the Mamasapano incident, like the Jabidah massacre, a purveyor of injustice and discrimination at the expense of the Moro people. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Carmelito Q. Francisco is managing editor of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times.)