Moro group to the Marcos family: ‘How can we forget?’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 August) — “Imee, how can we move on?” the militant group Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People) asked Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos in reaction to her statement calling on her family’s critics to “move on.”

Several Moro victims of the Marcos dictatorship continue to be denied justice, the group said.

“Imee, how can we move on? Our blood boils at the callousness of your dismissal of your sins. Your family owes us for the lives of relatives long lost to us. Your family owes us for raping our women,” Jerome Succor Aba, national chair of Suara Bangsamoro, said in a statement e-mailed late Saturday night.

Aba said the Marcos family owes the Moro people for the “stolen sanctities of our communities” and for “demonizing our culture and beliefs.”

“Your family committed genocide against the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Aba said his group is demanding justice for the victims and called on the Marcos family to return the wealth stolen from the public coffers.

“Why don’t you move on?”

“Why don’t you move on?”  Governor Marcos, eldest daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.,  said in a press briefing in Cebu City on August 21, the 35th anniversary of the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

Aquino’s assassination triggered more protest actions against the dictatorship that eventually led to the People Power protests that toppled the Marcoses and sent them on exile to Hawaii in late February 1986.

Marcos’ eldest son and namesake, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., ran for Vice President in 2016 but lost to Vice President Leni Robredo. Marcos Jr. filed an electoral protest.

“The millennials have moved on, and I think people at my age should also move on as well,” said Governor Marcos, who attended the opening rites of the Visayan Island Cluster Conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines where President Duterte, who has repeatedly acknowledged the help of the Governor Marcos during the Presidential campaign, was guest of honor.

“I’m not an apologist for my dad, and I think his work and his projects will have to speak for themselves,” Cebu Daily News quoted her as saying.

Cry for justice

Aba said the late dictator committed genocide against the Bangsamoro, recalling several massacres of the Moro people, among them Jabidah in 1968, Tacub in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte and Manili in North Cotabato in 1971, and Malisbong Masjid Massacre, also known as the Palimbang Massacre in 1974.

File photo of the mosque in Manili, Carmen, North Cotabato, where the massacre on June 19, 1971 happened. Photo courtesy of IHARYF SUCOL / UN volunteer, 2003

Aba, who hails from Palimbang, said more than a thousand Moros were rounded up and killed inside a mosque by the military. He recalled how he avoided the mosque as a child after he was told by his elders not to go near it as it is haunted.

He said families of the victims, most especially the women of Palimbang town, wept and struggled to rebuild their lives for their children.

“These people, my relatives, deserve justice. The howlings and echoes inside the Palimbang mosque will haunt your family for your crimes and conceit,” he said.

No different

President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, just hours after the first shots were fired between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group in Marawi City on May 23, 2017 is no different from the time of Marcos in exploiting, oppressing the people and culture, and destroying the communities, Aba said.

He claimed the bombings in Marawi led to the death of more than a thousand civilians. The Armed Forces of the Philippines recorded the death toll at 62 soldiers and policemen, 47 civilians and at least 800 terrorists as of October 17, 2018, when President Duterte declared Marawi City “liberated from the terrorist influence.”

“From Marcos’ to Duterte’s Martial Law, the Bangsamoro suffered countless human rights violations, the military operations and aerial strikes forcibly displaced almost a million Moros, strings of massacres and killings, terror-tagging of our people and communities,” Aba added.

“So when Bongbong (Marcos) asked what else we need from them, we have one clear answer: JUSTICE,” Aba said.

He concluded the statement by demanding that Imee, Bongbong and their mother Imelda, widow of Marcos and currently a congressional representative, return what they stole from the Filipino people. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)