1,000 Tausugs Who Fought Americans Declared Martyrs of Freedom

Mar. 10, 2006

MANILA (March 7, 2006) — The Senate approved Tuesday night a resolution recommending that about 1,000 men, women and children from the Tausug tribe in Sulu who died in defense of their homeland against American colonial troops a hundred years ago be honored as martyrs of freedom.

The senators in Senate Resolution No. 70, said the Tausug warriors and members of their families who fought the foreign invaders in the Battle of Bud Dajo deserve to be recognized for their courage and heroism.

Seldom in history do we find such bravery as that displayed by the Tausugs at Bud Dajo, said Senate minority leader Aquilino Nene Pimentel, Jr., principal author of the resolution.

The senators proposed that March 6 of 2006 and every year thereafter be declared as Bud Dajo Day in remembrance of the supreme sacrifice of the defenders of the Bud Dajo for love of their homeland.

Signing as co-authors of the resolution were Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Juan Flavier, Francis Pangilinan, Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Pia Cayetano, Loi Ejercito-Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Alfredo Lim, Jamby Madrigal, Sergio Osmea III, Ralph Recto and Ramon Revilla, Jr.

The Battle of Bud Dajo took place on March 5-7, 1906, after the Moros of Sulu refused to recognize American sovereignty over their islands and to pay taxes or surrender their weapons to the colonial authorities.

When the United States deployed about 800 troops to subjugate the Moros of Sulu, the inhabitants hardened their resistance and retreated to the top of Bud Dajo, the lava cone of an extinct volcano, and fortified it. Bud Dajo, about 10 kilometers from Jolo, has an altitude of 2,100 feet.

During the ensuing battle, the American soldiers, equipped with rifles, grenades and cannons stormed Bud Dajo, killing almost all of the 1,000 Moros who were armed only with kris (swords), spears and a few rifles. The colonial troops suffered minimal losses 21 killed and 75 wounded.

The American assault, composed of infantry, cavalry and artillery men, was supported by two-quick firing guns from the gunboat Pampanga that was moored at the Sulu sea.

The Bud Dajo defenders did not think about survival first ahead of their duty to defend the motherland and thus the demands of honor required of them to pay the ultimate sacrifice as Lapu Lapu, Gregorio del Pilar, the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Jose Abad Santos and our other national heroes did, Resolution 70 said.

The senators resolved that copies of the resolution be furnished the Office of the President and the National Heroes Commission for consideration and guidance.

Citing an account of the Battle of Dajo in the book Swish of the Kris, written by historian Vic Hurley, Sen. Pimentel said an examination of the dead showed that many of the Moros had up to 50 wounds. Of the 1,000 Tausugs who fought the invaders, only six men escaped the carnage.

Pimentel said the bravery and martyrdom of the defenders of Bud Dajo can be compared to the legendary feat of Jewish Zealots who fought the Roman colonizers in the year 72 of the Christian Era at the top of the mountain fortress called Masada. Rather than surrender to the Roman invaders, the Jewish people all committed suicide. (PR)

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