MANILA -- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., visited the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Saturday.
The visit highlighted the trust and confidence between the MILF and government and their efforts to bring lasting peace in the Bangsamoro homeland.
Today, I came back to one the most revered place, a place I can call home because here lives those galant men I considered my brethren, those whom I had been working with for a peaceful Mindanao, Galvez said in a statement Sunday.
Galvez also met with MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim and was joined by top military commanders from the AFP and the Western Mindanao Command.
I am pleased to receive the delegation of the Chief of Staff here in Camp Darapanan, said Ebrahim, who was also joined by the Vice Chairman of the MILF Alim Solaiman, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) chief-of-staff Almansour "Sammy" Gambar and the different front and base commanders in welcoming the visitors.
Gen. 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, the MILF chair added.
Galvez expressed the sincerity of the AFP in helping propel the peace process following the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President is always very supportive and serious in his guidance to the AFP in sealing the peace process here in Muslim Mindanao," he added.
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 added.
During the ceremony, the MILF leadership also awarded Gen Galvez with the "Soldier of Peace Award", the first to be given by the MILF organization to any military officer.
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, lined up on both sides of the 5-kilometer road from Cotabato City to Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where the MILF seat of government is located to welcome a visiting military commander.
We have deployed BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces) members as early as 7 o'clock in the morning to make sure that nothing could go wrong, Eduardo Guerra, one of the members of the MILF Central Committee, said.
It is also to show how we treasure the visit of the AFP Chief-of-Staff in our home.
Galvez and his party left Darapan at 2 p.m. with the cordon honors still in place.
"This is really an amazing gesture of love which I will always treasure and cherish for my lifetime," Galvez said of the gesture.
I would like to thank you for the warm welcome accorded to me and my staffs. As we were coming here, I was overwhelmed by the kind gesture na nakatayo lahat ng mga MILF brothers and sisters (where all MILF brothers and sisters were standing), young and old 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, he added.
When asked what the difference between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the MILF peace process is, he 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 condoled with the family of the agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency who were killed in Lanao Del Sur on Friday.
He instructed the 6th Infantry Division Commander, Major General Cirilito Sobejana to make sure that all assistance be accorded to the family of the 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," Galvez said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency