Corregidor Island, Cavite
18 March 2013

President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the Filipinos to recognize the Jabidah Massacre as part of the Philippines’ national chronicle. This was his statement during the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the tragic incident held at the historical Corregidor Island in Cavite province.

The President said that the massacre truly occured and that the purpose of his visit here is to make every Filipinos aware of this tragedy and to make sure that this will not happen again. He said that this incident is related to the current dispute on Sabah claims and announced that he has already ordered the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Justice, as well as the Office of the Executive Secretary to research and investigate, and then propose a roadmap to a peaceful resolution to the issue. Likewise, he also instructed the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to designate the Mindanao Garden of Peace as a historical landmark. This will soon be constructed in Kindley Airfield, the exact location where the massacre took place. He then hopes that his visit will serve as a sign that the government recognizes the sufferings of Moro Muslims.

“Moro ka man o Kristiyano, Bisaya o Tagalog, Agta ka man o Ilokano o Ilonggo, Tausug, Yakan, Maranao, saan mang sulok ng Pilipinas ka man nanggaling, sa ilalim ng watawat ng nagkakaisang Pilipinas, pantay-pantay ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” the President said.

The Jabidah Massacre is an incident where an estimate of 28 to 60 Moro Muslim recruits were executed by the military training officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the Kindley Airfield in Corregidor island on March 18, 1968 after they discovered their true mission which is to reclaim Sabah. This was called the “Operation Merdeka” or “Operation Freedom.” The Muslim trainees, aged between 18-30 years old, are residents of the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The highlight of the commemoration, with a theme “Learning from History, Uniting for Peace,” is the groundbreaking ceremony of the Muslim Peace Garden and the imprinting of the Hands of Peace led by President Aquino.

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