AFP chief meets with NCR-based Muslim leaders

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) met with muftis, imams and madrasah officials based in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Monday, October 26 here at the General Headquarters.

“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the Muftis and Imams based in NCR for gracing us with their presence on this great opportunity for an extensive dialogue between our organizations in order to fortify our efforts in fighting against lawless elements that threaten our fellow Filipinos,” General Gilbert Gapay said welcoming the Muslim leaders.

The dignitaries were NCR Grand Mufti Dr. Al-Sheick Abdeljabar M. Macarimbor of the Filipino-Arab Alliance and united Muslim Ummah Federation for Socio-Economic and Peace Development; Grand Imam Alem Maguid A. Tahir; Aleem Ahmad Kudarat; Aleem Abubacar Talib Manamping; Datu Umbria P. Mama; Aleem Hanip Sarip; Aleem Aliasgar Abolais; Mohammad Alioden Manalinding; Aleem Nashroden Alamada; Alihasan Taha; Aleem Khalid H. Matling; Aleem Abdulhamid Mustapha; Hismam H. Sedic; Abdul Malik Calauto; Almanzor I. Hajishaq; Abobacar T. Manampen; Sherwina Ali; Secretary to the NCR Grand Mufti Alex Y. Lebria; Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

“There is a need for better collaboration between our groups and the AFP. We are happy that this meeting is a promising start to have a more lasting partnership with the AFP to further improve our Madaris and sustain this as a pillar and institution of peace. Everything happens for a reason and that this may be Allah’s way for the government to further look into and act on the many challenges of the Madaris throughout the country”, Al-Sheick Macarimbor said.

Also present in the meeting were members and representatives of the Joint, Personal and Special Staff as well as officers from the AFP Wide Service Support Units.

General Gapay initially requested for a meeting with the Islamic dignitaries at their convenience however the leaders expressed their willingness to pay him a courtesy call instead. The meeting also served as a venue for the Chief of Staff to reiterate the AFP’s position in protecting the madaris from terrorist exploitation. A madrasah (madaris in plural) refers to an educational institution that teaches Islamic studies and Arabic literacy.

The AFP Chief said it was an honor and privilege to be accorded the opportunity to gain knowledge and insights from highly educated scholars and experts. He praised them for their expertise in multiple facets of peace and socio-economic development and wide knowledge of the true essence of Islam which can be utilized to craft comprehensive and eclectic methods of military operations.

He further affirmed that the dialogue was just an initial meeting and that there will be sustained and future interaction that will involve other stakeholders from both the government and other institutions in strengthening partnership with the madaris.

The AFP has ongoing partnerships with Imams and Muslim organizations in preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), and programs that give emphasis on stakeholder engagements and local government participation.

PCVE activities contribute in protecting vulnerable communities and facilities such as primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, madrassah, and torils/orphanages. Programs such as the National Youth Leadership Summit and the National Indigenous Peoples’ Leaders Summit are regularly conducted to strengthen the youth and IP sectors and protect them from radicalization and extremist recruitment.

“As mandated defenders of the peace and security of our land, we in the AFP remain staunch in intensifying our peace and security operations to slowly but surely reach our goal of uprooting the source of manpower, firepower, and finances of these local terrorist groups that have been disrupting the peaceful living of our citizens,” said General Gapay.

Guided by its core values of honor, service and patriotism, the AFP continues to partner with government and non-government organizations to end all kinds of threats to national peace and stability. It calls on the Filipino people to help in this overall effort as the fight against terrorism is not the sole responsibility of the government or the security sector but of every citizen of the republic. AFP.MIL.PH