COTABATO CITY — Starting 2021 and onward, the period of March will be the “Bangsamoro History Month” to be celebrated yearly in the Bangsamoro region.
Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) gave recognition to the month as he issued Proclamation No. 0001, s. 2021, proclaiming March 2021 as Bangsamoro History Month and every year thereafter.
This is in recognition of some of the significant historical events affecting Muslim Filipinos that happened during March.
To implement the proclamation Ebrahim, chairman of the erstwhile revolutionary Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he tasked the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS)-BARMM as the lead ministry in formulating programs and activities in observance thereof.
The BARMM Information Office (BIO) said March shares several historical events concerning the Bangsamoro people. One of which is the famous albeit still controversial Jabidah Massacre which transpired on Corregidor Island, Cavite, on March 18, 1968. This involved the brutal killing of dozens of young Moro individuals who were recruited by the military to undergo basic and, thereafter, advanced military training (Guerrilla Operations and Jungle Warfare) under the so called “Operation Merdeka” – a secret mission under orders of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to reclaim the Island of Sabah.
It can be recalled that Sabah has been and continues to be a point of contention between the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo and Malaysia concerning ownership.
Significant events in month of March for Bangsamoro
To reminisce the tragic massacre incident, the Bangsamoro Government, through the MPOS-BARMM, commemorated the 53rd Anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre at the Mindanao Garden of Peace, Corregidor Island, on March 18, 2021. Participants included some officials of the Bangsamoro Government, representatives from civil society organizations, non-government organizations, peace advocates, indigenous peoples, and uniformed personnel in BARMM, among others.
The theme for this year’s commemoration will be “JABIDAH @ 53: A Shared Bangsamoro Experience”. This event is intended to highlight the significance of the Jabidah Massacre, that is, an incident that not only ignited Moro uprising but, more importantly, marked the unity of the Bangsamoro people, despite their differences as to tribes, political affiliations, and cultures, among others, in seeking justice, fighting oppression, and eventually fighting for their right to self-determination.
Another scheduled activity under the Bangsamoro History Month was a Forum on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation. This was held on March 19-20, 2021 at the Bayview Park Hotel Manila. The objective of the activity geared towards the formulation of policy framework on transitional justice mechanism in the Bangsamoro. Moreover, this forms part of the endeavors of the MPOS to continue working for a lasting peace in the Bangsamoro in order to sustain the gains of the peace process.
Other Bangsamoro historical events that transpired in March are: the Bud Dajo Massacre on March 5-7, 1906; Dansalan Declaration on March 18, 1935; All-Out-War against MILF on March 21, 2000; Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27, 2014; and the Inauguration of the BARMM and Inaugural Session of the BTA on March 29, 2019. (BIO)