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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 09 April) — Was the ‘Bagong Lipunan’ anthem of the Marcos dictatorship played in the rally for Marcos Junior in Marawi City?

In 1974, two Philippine naval ships bombarded the Muslim Moro community on the sea shore of Sibuco (Zamboanga del Norte). The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerrilla fighters were there on the beach and were positioned under the coconut trees, but they did not fire back at the two naval ships in deference to the Moro civilians who were scampering to safety. 

Any response from the Moro mujahideen would have escalated into a full-blown battle, and the Philippine naval forces would have called on the Philippine Air Force to bomb from air the Moro civilian villages that would have resulted in enormous civilian casualties. 

The naval bombardment was a harassment directed against the Moro community. This was typical of the military at that time. The Philippine military was on the offensive against the MNLF, and the destruction and/or dispersal of Moro civilian communities, which the Philippine government believed then were sympathetic to the MNLF, was part of the military tactical operation. 

In this operation, there was no consideration given to civilian casualties, or in military parlance ‘collateral damage,’ precisely because that was the objective: to sow fear and terror into the hearts of the Moro civilian masses. 

This has always been the malevolent design of the regime from the very beginning since Marcos unleashed the Ilagas on the Moro Muslim communities even before martial law was imposed. 

The naval bombardment by two naval ships of the Moro community in Sibuco was thus in pursuit of this objective. 

But while the two naval ships were bombarding the shoreline of Sibuco, one of the naval vessels was playing the ‘Bagong Lipunan’ anthem of the Marcos dictatorship in full volume on its powerful loudspeakers facing the shoreline. This was intentional. They wanted the Moros to hear that they were being subjected to intense naval fire courtesy of the ‘Bagong Lipunan’ of the Marcos regime. 

To intimidate? Yes. But it was more to insult. To mock. To humiliate the Moro civilians while they were about to be killed. In a very real sense, it was a perverse surrealistic scenario that revived a classic anti-Moro idiom: A good Moro is a dead Moro. 

The ‘Bagong Lipunan’ music could be heard on the shore because the naval ships went very near the beach. Had they advanced further, they would have been beached on the shallow waters. And this was intentional, too, because they obsessively wanted the Moros to hear the loathsome ‘death anthem’ from the naval ship that was spitting deadly fire from its cannons. 

The MNLF fighters hidden under the coconut trees and shrubs heard it. 

The Moro civilians scampering to safety heard it.

I heard it because I was there. 

The martial music akin to a Nazi marching song.

While under that coconut tree in Sibuco, I prayed and hoped that never again will I 

hear that loathsome ‘death anthem.’ 

In 1986, when Marcos was booted out of power, I thought my prayer in Sibuco was answered. 

But I was wrong. 

Now, we’re hearing this ‘death anthem’ being played again after almost 50 years, in the campaign of Marcos Junior to take the presidency and restore the ‘Bagong Lipunan’ of his dictator father. 

We could have let that pass until we were told that this anthem of the dictatorship was played again and again in the Marawi rally for Marcos Junior. 

Auzubillah! This anthem was played in the 1970s while they were killing Moro civilians and mujahideen alike.

But the irony is that it is Moros now who are playing it while they were cheering for Marcos Junior. 

What have you done, brethren? 

Your greed for power is consuming you that you have forgotten the injustice of the recent past that is yet to be rectified. 

What happened to you? 

Is power more important to you than justice for our long oppressed people?

And what about you, ‘people of the Lake’? You who are sons and daughters of noble heroes and shuhada (martyrs) of the Bangsamoro struggle? 


The curse of those who died and were martyred in the 70s will be upon you! 

Restore your maratabat! 

Ask Allah swt for forgiveness! 

Remember what the Holy Prophet (saw) said : There is no obedience to the disobedient. 

Arise and redeem your shame! 

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Robert Maulana Marohombsar Alonto was a member of the peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that negotiated the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro signed in 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed in 2014. He was also a member of the Bangsamoro Transition. Commission that drafted the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that Congress during the Aquino administration failed to pass. Alonto is presently  Commissioner for Lanao del Sur of the Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Alonto posted this piece on his FB page on 31 March 2022). 

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