Revisiting the town MILF terrorists attacked in 2008, killing Christian civilians including women and children

I was based in Manila when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front terrorists attacked the innocent civilians in Lapayan, Lanao del Norte on August 18, 2008. It was worrisome to hear such news, but “worrisome” is too nice a word. My parent’s house was just about 12 kilometers away from where the massacre happened.

MILF murdered 27 civilians. Women, children, babies, fathers, old or young. The mass murderers didn’t care as long as you’re a Christian.

This part of Lapayan, right after the bridge, is a mixed community of Muslims and Christians. Not surprisingly, all the dead were Christians. The Christians were all caught “off-guard” when the attack happened right before 5 in the morning. While practically all the Muslim residents have fled for safety at 3:00 AM.

Disappointingly, not a single Muslim civilian gave warning to their Christian neighbors.

Actually, there was one good Muslim who did tell a Christian about the MILF’s plan. This Muslim was working in Saudi Arabia at that time. He told his kababayan, a Christian from Iligan about the impending slaughter. But, unfortunately, the latter, because of busyness at work, forgot to relay the message.

Revisiting Lapayan and the survivors

About a hundred meters after the bridge, I saw several rubble of what used to be concrete houses. After more than 8 years, apparently, the owners have had enough. Although, a number chose to remain and rebuilt their houses.

A run-down house can be rebuilt, but the life of an innocent life stolen through a senseless killing would take years to move on from the pain. Not counting the difficulty that a daughter who lost a father had to go through as a result.

The survivors are virtually not taken care of their needs. One of the survivors I interviewed lamented about not given importance after all these years. Ironically, the government negotiates with the coldblooded serial killers.


Marielle Pua (left) was wounded but blessed to be alive, but her father died. Romelito Deitia (right) fled to the hills, but his brother and uncle were among the dead.

Marielle Pua was only 8 years old on that fateful early morning. She was terrified of the gunshot sounds, and was glad to see what she thought were government soldiers, but they turned out to be the MILF terrorists intent to kill her.

Marielle and her father were shoved inside a multicab together with other civilians, including women and children. But they were not to be taken as prisoners. Then, the MILF did the unthinkable, they strafed the vehicle with their high-powered firearms. Marielle was hit on the her side, but her father wasn’t lucky.

Romelito Deitia (photo above) managed to flee, but his brother and uncle were shot by the terrorists.

The lawless armed men went from house to house and forcibly removed those inside. Deitia’s uncle was one of those taken this way. Then, they burned the houses.

According to one of the residents I interviewed, one house was spared by the terrorists, this after the house owner told the armed men that he is a Muslim. Of course, he didn’t tell them he was married to a Christian woman. He was asked to pray the correct Muslim prayer to prove he is indeed a Muslim. Him and everyone (who were hiding) in the house were all safe.


This is Lenny, asked me not to show her face. Her son, 16 was also shot by the MILF. She lamented about the government’s inaction for their plight.


Romelito Deitia pointed to me the house of his uncle, now just a rubble, the one after the mango tree, which is just beside the concrete fence.

Possibly, two major reasons why these debris remain as such. First, the survivors are fearful of a similar attack might happen in the future. Secondly, the owners are all dead.


This is the area where most Muslims live, and this was practically untouched during the mass slaughter on August 18, 2008. If only the Muslims here warned their Christian neighbors, many lives could have been saved.

The footage below was recorded by Boyet Codas, seven days after the incident. Franilyn was just 13 years old, whose father and 1 year old baby sister were killed by the MILF.

What prompted the MILF to do such murderous rampage?

When the government panel under President Gloria Arroyo didn’t sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) with the MILF, two weeks later the massacre happened.

The MILF is obviously a radical Islam terrorist organization, whose interpretation of the Quran is literal. Several Quranic passages most likely motivate them.

Quran 5:51

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

Quran 3:151

We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.

Anong masasabi mo? 🙂

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