By: Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com
March 5, 2013 3:28 PM
MANILA, Philippines — As far as timing goes, Malaysia may not have chosen a more un-propitious date to mount its assault on the followers of the Sulu sultanate led by the crown prince, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, who had occupied a village in Lahad Datu town in Sabah in a bid to press their historic claim to the territory.
This is because, 107 years ago to the day, on March 5, 1906, the then American colonizers began an operation that, by the time it ended three days later, saw at least a thousand Tausug men, women and children dead in what still resonates among natives of Sulu and Filipino nationalists as “the Bud Dajo Massacre.”
Bud Dajo is an inactive volcano near Jolo in whose crater a community of Tausug lived who refused to submit to American rule.
Only six Tausug survived the slaughter.
The Americans suffered anywhere from 15 to 25 dead and over 75 wounded.
In 2006, the Philippine Senate approved a resolution authored by Senator Aquilino Pimentel honoring the Tausug of Bud Dajo as “martyrs of freedom.”
“They did not wish to submit to American rule by paying taxes or surrendering their weapons,” the resolution reads. (http://www.senate.gov.ph/13th_congress/resolutions/resno70.pdf)
It also declares March 6 Bud Dajo Day “in remembrance of the supreme sacrifice that the defenders of Bud Dajo made for love of their homeland.”
In Honor for the Flag: The Battle of Bud Dajo – 1906 & The Moro Massacre, Robert Fulton says two-thirds of the Tausug killed were women and children, mostly members of the warriors’ families and many of whom also fought the colonizers.
Although the Tausug had an excellent defensive position, the ten-to-one firepower advantage enjoyed by the Americans made the battle extremely lopsided.
The Tausug also call the incident “The Battle of the Clouds” by the Tausug for the mists that often shroud the mountain peak.
Fulton noted that, despite the odds against them, the Tausug of Bud Dajo remained defiant, jeering and yelling at the enemy, and beating gongs and drums to mark the start of battle.