MSU-Maguindanao and Office of MP Atty. Suharto M. Ambolodto Join MPOS-BARMM in Commemorating the 53rd Year of the Manili Massacre; Facilitate FPE101 Learning Sessions with Survivors

The Fundamentals of Peace Education (FPE101) students at Mindanao State University – Maguindanao joined the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS) -BARMM, along with other ministries, offices, and agencies, in commemorating the 53rd year of the Manili Massacre on June 19, 2024, at the Manili Memorial Marker in Carmen, North Cotabato.

With the support of the Office of MP Atty. Suharto M. Ambolodto, 43 FPE101 students and members of the University Peace Club participated in the commemoration activity and dialogue with survivors of the Manili Massacre. Associate Professor Grant Warren D. Lu, Director of the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao, represented Chancellor Bai Hejira Nefertiti M. Limbona at the event. He expressed gratitude to MPOS-BARMM for inviting MSU-Maguindanao to their meaningful programs. He highlighted that their participation exemplifies an immersive learning approach, a key component of Chancellor Limbona’s administration’s peace education strategy:

“Kung gusto po natin na ma preserve yung culture, history, at identity ng isang Bangsamoro. Hindi po [pu]pwede na yung bagong henerasyong ng Bangsamoro ay walang alam sa kung ano ang nangyari noon. (If we want to preserve the culture, history, and identity of the Bangsamoro, the new generation must be aware of what happened in the past.)”

Dir. Lu also emphasized that the university’s involvement supports the right-to-know pillar under the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation framework. Through these firsthand experiences, students gain a deeper understanding of history and are better equipped to contribute to sustaining peace in the Bangsamoro.

Also present at the activity were MPOS Deputy Minister Abdulkudos “Jimmy” Balitok, MPOS Director General Atty. Al-Rashid Balt, Assistant Senior Minister and Concurrent Project Manager Abdullah “Dong” M. Cusain, LGU-Carmen Representative Ms. Zaida-Tur Ambel, and Chairperson of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) Guiamel M. Alim.

Remembering Manili through Students’ Dialogue with the Survivors

In the afternoon of the commemoration program, FPE101 students participated in an exclusive learning session and dialogue with Bapa Teng Nagli, Babu Taaga Buno Mamaluba, and Bapa Abdulmanan Nagli, all survivors of the 1971 Manili Massacre. Before the session, Mr. Tohamie Gumander, Peace Program Officer II of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety, introduced the students to the Ministry and its programs, including the commemoration of historical events significant to the Bangsamoro Peace Process. IPDM Assistant Director Mr. Alvin Lois E. Pembarat moderated the dialogue, asking questions about the events of Manili, the clear memories of violence, how they overcame those struggles, and advice for students on preserving these narratives.

A student from the College of Education asked if the survivors had developed hatred toward Ilonggo communities. Nagli replied, “Hindi. Wala. Kasi alam naming na hindi lahat ng Ilonggo, ganun. Alam namin na yung mga tao ngayon, walang kinalaman sa anong nangyari noon. Di kena mapya na makakalagit tanan sa isa bu. (No. Not at all. Because we know that not all Ilonggos are like that. We know that people today have nothing to do with what happened back then. It’s not fair for everyone to be blamed for what a few people did.)”

With heavy emotions, Nagli also encouraged the students to share these stories accurately. They understand that few know about what happened in Manili and fear that if these stories die, so will the struggles of their ancestors who were violently tortured in 1971.

Ms. Jaliya Luminog, representing the Office of MP Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, gave a closing message emphasizing the need to protect the rights and welfare of oppressed communities. Director Lu led a debriefing activity to process the heavy emotions felt during the dialogue.

What happened to Manili in 1971?

The Manili Massacre occurred on June 19, 1971, in the tranquil village of Manili, Carmen, North Cotabato. Over 70 Muslim Moros, including men, women, and children, were brutally murdered inside a mosque by the Ilaga, a Christian paramilitary group. Survivors of the massacre, such as Theng Nagli, Amalia Nagli, Fatima Nagli, and others, recounted the horrors they endured. They described a peaceful life disrupted by violence, with residents being forced into the mosque under the guise of a peace talk and subsequently slaughtered. Theng vividly remembered how his father, Haji Usop, tried to negotiate with the Ilaga, only to witness his brutal execution. The massacre left lasting trauma on the survivors, who lost family members and their once prosperous way of life.

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Authors: Grant Warren D. Lu, Alvin Lois E. Pembarat