Malisbong, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat is a place that does not ring a bell to so many Filipinos, even among Moros.
But it should. The community was not only the witness, but the survivor of a horrible state sponsored carnage that left us widowed and scarred by the horrors of Martial Law.
On September 24, 1974 about 3 Batallion armed men from the Philippine Army went into our community and herded our men into the mosque. They also sent the women and children to a ship docked nearby for interrogation. All houses in Barangay Malisbong ,Kraan ,Libua, Kolongkolong, Baliango,Kabuling,Maguid and even in Pinol Maitum Sarangani Province were burned and all properties destroyed , and in the course of that operation, 1,500 were massacred, including boys as young as 11 and men as old as 70, and even women.
This tragedy became a sordid, little-known footnote to Martial Law.
Worse, justice has eluded the community for all these years. The former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., as Commander-in-Chief, has not been made to account for his complicity, and lack of resolution to what happened to Palimbang.
It is thus with outrage and disgust that the surviving families of the Malisbong massacre in Palimbang Sultan Kudarat now call on the government to rescind and abandon any and all plans to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Malisbong, Palimbang was an extreme case of how Moros have been marginalized, and have been attended by the violence of exclusion. In the struggle for genuine peace in Mindanao. Malisbong
Palimbang is an historical injustice that continues to beg for resolution. The burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will stunt the survivors' quest for justice as it would negate their experience at the hands of a Commander-in-Chief responsible for the deaths of their kin.
The survivors further plead with the Supreme Court to look at the Malisbong,Palimbang story as well, given how the Supreme Court listened to other victims of human rights violations victims during the oral arguments.
They share in the belief that it is important that such stories become part of the country's consciousness, given how the forces behind Martial Law remain in power, that some of them maintain their clout and influence, avoiding the long arm of the law for their crimes. The Malisbong, Palimbang story must be added to the story given a concerted effort to whitewash history and cleanse the Marcos name through outright lies.
The survivors hope that these stories, when combined with jurisprudence, will lead the court to the only logical conclusion: that Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, because this violates the soul of the freedom constitution itself, crafted in response to dictatorship and to uphold the dignity and human rights of all.
The Malisbong, Palimbang Massacre survivors lend their voice to the countless others who were victimized by the tyranny of Marcos, and who vow to work so that Filipinos become aware what the cost of dictatorship was. They also call on the public to hear their story, so that the country may remember, and learn. For it is only in learning the truth behind what happened in Malisbong, Palimbang that day in 1974 can the Philippines truly ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again.
*A Press Release
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