COTABATO CITY – For Director-General Atty. Al Rashid Balt of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS), the remembrance of the Manili Massacre is “not to instill resentment.”
“[This] is to show the world such a horrific incident, [so] that the people will never forget [and] so it will never happen again,” Balt said during the commemoration of the 51st anniversary of the Manili Massacre on Sunday, June 19, at Barangay Manili, in Carmen, North Cotabato.
The Manili Massacre records the June 19, 1971 mass murder of seventy (70) Muslim Moros, including women and children, inside a mosque and a school in the village of Manili. The Muslims were forcefully gathered inside their mosque when the members of the Philippine Constabulary and Ilaga militants opened fire on them.
“Naipon kami sa mosque at naghihintay ng meeting base sa impormasyon na ipinadala galling sa munisipyo. Ang ibang sitio ay alas singko palang ng umaga ay dinala na sila sa school,” recalled Sammy Gumaga, 64, one of the survivors.
“Dumating ang Philippine Constabulary at mga Ilaga. Lahat ng mga tao sa daan ay dinala sa amin at pinapasok sa mosque. Sinara ang mga pintuan pati natin ang pintuan sa mga babae. Ang sabi ng officer nila: ‘Bapa, pangayu namu sa inyong Diyos na mahurut namu mamatay karon’ (Manong, manalangin na kayo sa inyong Diyos na maubos na kayong mamatay ngayon),” Gumaga narrated.
“ ‘La ilāha Illallah Muhammadur rasulullah! (There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad his messenger)’ – ito na lang ang nabigkas namin. Pinagbabaril na kami sabay-sabay at tinapunan ng hand grenade,” he remembered.
“Tumakbo ako sa pintuan ng mga babae, tumakbo ako hanggang naabutan ko ang tabing-ilog at doon ako nagtago. Bumalik ako nang alas tres ng hapon na. Nakahandusay na ang lahat,” he added.
Balt said historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro, like the Manili Massacre, are what drove the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) into revolution, which eventually led to the establishment of the Bangsamoro Government.
MPOS spearheaded Sunday’s event along with the other ministries of the Bangsamoro Government who paid tribute to the survivors and provided services to the residents, such as the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) and Ministry of Health (MOH), including the Office of the Chief Minister’s Project TABANG (Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan).
“Nandito kami at mga kasamahan galing sa MSSD, MOH, at TABANG to commemorate lahat ng historical events ng Bangsamoro –Manili, Jabidah, Malisbong, at iba pang massacres. Kaming mga ministries at agencies ng BARMM ay magtutulungan lahat mag render ng serbisyo hindi lang sa BARMM areas kundi pati na rin outside,” said MPOS Minister Hussein Muñoz.
MSSD provided some 200 beneficiaries with relief assistance composing 25-kilo sacks of rice and hygiene and dignity kits, while the MOH conducted a free medical consultation and circumcision, and distributed free medicines. On the other hand, Project TABANG distributed medical and hygiene kits, and multivitamins.
The Bangsamoro Government will also build a 2-classroom madrasah worth P3-million, and provide agricultural livelihood projects for the residents of Manili. (Majid Nur/BIO)
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