President Rodrigo Duterte was referring to the killing of 600 Moro people by American soldiers in 1906 when he said Monday, September 5, that the United States has not even apologized to the Philippines for its atrocities during the turn of the century.
Duterte spewed out a tirade of historical extra-judicial killings when asked by a Reuters reporter Monday about discussing extra-judicial killings (EJKs) with US President Barack Obama.
“Who is he? When as a matter of fact at the turn of the century, before the Americans left, the Philippines, in the pacification campaign of the Moro in this island, there were around 6 million ang population ng Moro, how many died? Six hundred. If you can answer this question and give an apology, I will answer him,” Duterte said.
The incident he was referring to happened in 1906 in the island of Jolo, Sulu. It was named the Battle of Bud Dajo.
It was in December 1898 when the US signed a treaty with Spain, acquiring the Philippines for $20 million. The Filipinos, however, refused the takeout and they waged a war.
On July 4, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the war over after successfully subjugating the insurrectionist Filipino forces, and in his own proclamation said, “except in the country inhabited by the Moro tribes, to which this proclamation does not apply.”
The Moro Province was created in 1903, comprising the southern Mindanao and the Sulu islands. Unlike the other provinces, the Moro Province was to be staffed by US Army officers, simply because US believed the Moro Province was backward and need to be civilized and educated on democracy.
The Americans capitalized on the tribal divisions of the Moro Province and subdued them that way. Except those in Jolo. Despite three years of persuasion by Woods, the leader of the Jolo tribes refused to recognize the US as the ruler of the country.
In 1906, hearing words that the Americans were going to invade, the Jolo people fled to the 15-acre wooded crater of Bud Dajo, an extinct volcano, believing that the spirits of the volcano will protect them.
On March 5, 1906, Woods ordered his officers to gather 800 of his men from the 6th and 19th Infantry, the 4th Cavalry, the 28th Artillery Battery, the Sulu Constabulary, and sailors from the gunboat Pampanga, led by Colobnel Duncan, to Jolo.
They were armed with mountain guns, rifles, bayonets, fast-firing pistols and grenades.
When negotiations for the Moro people who sought refuge in Bud Dajo failed, they attacked.
The Moro warriors were armed with kris, barongs, and spears. The attack ended on March 7, 1906, with not one Moro standing; women and children among them.
The Americans lost two dozen men and some 70 wounded. It was a complete massacre.
The “victory” that was earlier celebrated in the US was immediately tainted with shame after the US Congress realized there were women and children among the dead.
“The PH is not a vassal state, we have long ceased to be a colony of the US. Alam mo, marami diyang mga columnista they look upon Obama and the US as we are the lapdogs of this country. I do not respond to anybody but to the people of the Republic of the Philippines. Wala akong pakialam sa kanya. Who is he to confront me, as a matter of fact, America has one too many to answer for the misdeeds in this country,” Duterte said.