AFP Chief Visits Main MILF Camp, Declares War Over

 

Manila, Philippines, MINA — Top military officials led by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. made a historic visit to the main camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao.

The visit on Saturday marks the heightened trust and confidence between the government and the MILF in the effort to bring enduring peace to the Bangsamoro homeland, Philstar reported,  citing officials

“Today I can now declare that the war between the Armed Forces and the MILF is finally over. To my commanders, let us embrace our brothers and sisters and give them respect and lasting peace that the Moro people deserve,” Galvez said.

The military chief joined MILF chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim in the event. They were joined by top military commanders from the AFP’s general headquarters and the Western Mindanao Command.

“Today, I came back to one of the most revered places, a place I can call home because here lives those gallant men I considered my brethren, those whom I had been working with for a peaceful Mindanao,” Galvez said.

AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the military’s visit to the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao reflects a historic gesture since the Muslim secessionist group was established in the 1970s.

Also Read:  Palace to Submit Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress This Week

“I am pleased to receive the delegation of the chief of staff here in Camp Darapanan,” Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim was joined by the MILF vice chairman Alim Solaiman, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force chief of staff Almansour Gambar and unit commanders in welcoming the AFP delegation.

“General Galvez is well known among our commanders, the friendship between the MILF and him is already strongly established due to the numerous incidents and challenges in the past that we have jointly faced and solved,” Ebrahim said.

During the visit, Galvez expressed the sincerity of the AFP in helping further the peace process following the guidance of President Duterte.

Galvez said the President is “always very supportive and serious in his guidance to the AFP in sealing the peace process here in Muslim Mindanao.”

During the ceremony, the MILF leadership also awarded Galvez with the “Soldier of Peace Award,” the first to be given by the MILF organization to any military officer.

Detoyato said it was also the first time that about 6,000 MILF members coming from the different islands in Mindanao, going as far as Sulu and Basilan, had lined up on both sides of the five-kilometer road from Cotabato City to Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where the MILF’s seat of government is located.

Also Read:  JAPAN MUSLIMS BUILD "GAZA MOSQUE" AT SHIZOUKA

“We have deployed BIAF members as early as 7 a.m. to make sure that nothing could go wrong,” said Eduardo Guerra, one of the members of the MILF Central Committee.

He said this was “to show how we treasure the visit of the AFP chief of staff in our home.”

 

Amazing gesture of love

Galvez admired the move he described as an amazing gesture of love, one which he will treasure and cherish for the rest of his life.

“I would like to thank you for the warm welcome accorded to me and my staff. As we were coming here, I was overwhelmed by the kind gesture that all MILF brothers and sisters, young and old standing on the winding road waiting our long convoy to pass by. I will not forget that I was given so much importance… that was the longest honor given to me and probably in the history of giving honors to visiting guests,” Galvez said.

Also Read:  Eventually, Abu Sayyaf’s Luck Will Run Out, Says AFP

When asked about the difference between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the MILF peace process during the press briefing, Galvez said “the CPP is deceptive, manipulative and insincere. They burned road project equipment, they executed thousands even their own comrades. They extort and always wanted to take advantage. They do not have the sense of honor or ‘Maratabat’ of the MILF.”

After the visit, Galvez paid respect and condoled with the families of agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who were killed in Lanao del Sur.

He instructed Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, to extend all assistance to the kin of the slain PDEA agents.

“In time of grief, the AFP will always be with PDEA in its fight against illegal drugs. We will do our best to help seek justice for the death of these dedicated gallant agents who died serving the country. With our PNP partner, we will seek justice no matter how long and how hard it will take,” he said.