President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the Americans to apologize for killing Filipino Muslims, or Moros, during the Moro rebellion against the US.
Before leaving for the ASEAN Summit in Laos on Monday, September 5, Duterte pointed out how US President Barrack Obama has no right to lecture him on human rights, especially when the Americans also had a history of extrajudicial killings.
“Who is he? When as a matter of fact at the turn of the century, before the Americans left, the Philippines, in the pacification campaign of the Moro in this island, there were around 6 million ang population ng Moro, how many died? Six hundred. If you can answer this question and give an apology, I will answer him,” Duterte said.
He was referring to the Battle of Bud Dajo in Jolo, Sulu in 1906, which killed at least 600 Moros, including men, women, and even children.
But during the martial rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, at least 1,500 Moros were massacred in Barangay Malisbong in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat. Yet, Duterte remained firm in allowing Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In September 2014, the national government recognized 1,500 Moro residents of Malisbong who were killed in a massacre on September 24, 1976 as part of the martial law victims.
MindaNews reported that then Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales personally delivered the recognition to the victims’ families and met with some of the attack’s survivors at a mosque where the massacre happened.
According to Rosales, the government wanted to give them recognition and uphold their rights as massacre victims.
“Bibigyan natin ng dangal ang bawat isa sa kanila because there is this measure of justice na bagamat hindi total justice ay nagsisiguro ng tinuturing nating hustisya,” Rosales said.
The government honoring the Moro massacre victims as martial law victims entitled the survivors and their families to the P10-billion fund that was set aside by the government under former President Benigno Aquino III for the monetary remuneration of human rights victims during the Marcos regime.
This is according to the mandate of the Republic Act 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, a law recognizing and providing reparation of the Martial Law victims.
Former Akbayan partylist representative Mario Aguja helped lobby for honoring the Moro victims. He said that such recognition is an important step in the process of “healing” the wounds created by the massacre.
“For the first time in 40 years, they have finally filed their claims. This is not only monetary but part of it is the recognition from the government that they were victims of state-led atrocities during the martial law period,” Aguja said.
According to the Moro Women’s Center based in General Santos City, the entire village of Malisbong was razed to the ground by the pro-government military forces.
“Moro men were shot to death while women and children were arrested and brought to a nearby Marines and Navy boat anchored on the sea shore that was constantly shelling the community,” said the group.
They also claimed that women aged 9 to 60 years old were raped at the boat overnight.
Although around 3,000 detained women and children were later freed and brought back to their community, “most of them lost their sanity due to grave torture during interrogations,” the group added.
The group estimated around 1,500 Moro men aged 11 to 70 years old were massacred in the Malisbong mosque while 300 houses were burned and destroyed by the military.
The massacre happened two years after Marcos declared martial law.
You can watch the video below of the Malisbong residents’ recollection of the massacre.
Netizens also reacted to the irony of Duterte asking the US to apologize while wanting to give Marcos a hero’s burial.