Suara Babai:

Remembering Jabidah Massacre and the stories and wisdom of Bangsamoro women

in the struggle for liberation and right to self-determination

18 March 2023 | 10AM

March 18 is a heroic date for the Bangsamoro people. It is the day for the commemoration of the Jabidah Massacre, the execution 55 years ago of a number of Moro youth who were commissioned for a military covert operation (Operation Merdeka) to take over the island of Sabah in Malaysia.

It is also the celebration of the Bangsamoro Freedom Day, the recognition that Jabidah massacre sparked the consciousness of the Bangsamoro people to pursue the struggle for self-determination and formed a liberation movement for secession.

The Jabidah Massacre is a reminder of the historical atrocities of the Philippine government in general, and former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in particular, to the Bangsamoro people. This was followed by the Manili massacre in 1971 where 70 people were killed inside their mosque in Carmen, North Cotabato.

Other massacres happened during Martial Law period that claimed more than 200,000 lives, ravaged Moro communities and caused the displacement and migration of half a million Bangsamoro people to other provinces in the country and to Sabah, Malaysia. To this day, the Bangsamoro people are still waiting for the recognition, justice and restitution for the victims.

Worse, there is a growing movement under the Marcos Jr. administration that seeks to revise, to the point of deny, the atrocities committed by Marcos Sr. before and during Martial Law.

In these narratives, little is known about the roles that Bangsamoro women played in the history of the Bangsamoro struggle. Bangsamoro women are always portrayed as the victims, helpless and vulnerable. The accounts of how Bangsamoro women fought alongside Bangsamoro men in the fight to defend their communities are frequently left out by storytellers and movement leaders.

Hence, there is a need to highlight the stories of the roles that the Bangsamoro women played in the Bangsamoro struggle and their contribution to the Filipino peoples struggle in general. There is also a need to highlight the situation and concerns of the displaced Bangsamoro women in Metro Manila who were forced to evacuate from their communities in Mindanao due to conflict.

In line with this, the Research and Extension for Development Office of the College of Social Work and Community Development will hold a forum and consultation, “Suara Babai: Remembering Jabidah Massacre and the stories and wisdom of Bangsamoro women in the struggle for liberation and right to self-determination” on March 18, 2023 from 10:00am to 3:00pm.This forum and consultation aims to encourage Bangsamoro women to speak out and identify their actual and perceived role(s) and contribution(s) to the struggle for liberation and self-determination. It also hopes to document these stories and promote them publicly as part of our commitment to help empower the Bangsamoro women.

This forum is part of our contribution to the month-long celebration of the recognition of women’s rights and struggle.