Bangsamoros want freedom, not compensation

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace negotiating panel on Wednesday, March 2, said that unlike other Marcos victims of human rights abuses, the Bangsamoro people do not want monetary compensation but their right to self-determination and freedom.

Robert Maulana “Bobby” Marohombsar Alonto, the third member of the MILF peace panel, told Remate Tonight through email that the question raised by “Brother Khaled Musa” in an article posted on the MILF website was a rhetorical question meant only “to underscore the immensity of the injustice committed against the Bangsamoro people.”

“Monetary compensation is not what we need; it is our right of self-determination and freedom that we want back. I hope this is clear enough,” he said.

Alonto said that the MILF, through Musa, has the right to ask the question “given the fact that during the reign of the Marcos dictatorship, the Bangsamoro people suffered the most. No Muslim Moro family, except perhaps those who collaborated with the Marcos dictatorship, has survived unscathed in one way or the other the brutality of the dictatorship.”

During the Marcos iron regime, government forces and state-sponsored paramilitary forces such as the Ilonggo Land Grabbers Association (ILAGA), perpetrated several bloody massacres against innocent Moro civilians in the 1970s. Some of these massacres were the Manili Massacre, Kauswagan Massacre, Tictapul Massacre, Malisbong Massacre in which 1,000 Moros were killed en masse, Patikul Massacre which killed 700 Moros, and Pata Island Massacre which killed an estimated 3,000 Moros.

“They have not filed their petitions; they are dead, and therefore they cannot expect anything forthcoming,” Musa was quoted in the MILF website report as answering his own question to Judge Manuel Real.

Alonto also said that after EDSA I that overthrew the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, various regimes continued one after the other to use the Bangsamoro people as laboratory guinea pigs in the experiment of autonomy. But none of these regimes even issued an apology, not even a simple “sorry” to the Muslims, he lamented.

“Philippine regimes came and went since Marcos was ousted but never was there an attempt by any of these regimes to offer as much as a verbal apology to the Bangsamoro people for what was done to them,” he said.

The report quoted Musa, who is MILF Committee on Information deputy chairman,as having asked Judge Manuel Real of the US District Court of Hawaii if the “tens of thousands of Moros who were victims of massacres
also entitled to compensation?”Real had approved the distribution of US$7.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by thousands of victims and families of victims of human rights abuses such as torture, execution, abduction and harassment during the Marcos regime.

The distribution of the payment of US$1,000 to each of the victims included in the lawsuit started on March 1. Albus D. Estabas

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