“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,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. said during his visit to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)’s Camp Darapanan in a historic gesture since the Muslim armed group’s establishment in the 1970s.
The visit on October 6 marked the heightened trust and confidence between the government and the MILF in the effort to bring enduring peace to the Bangsamoro homeland.
“Today, I came back to one the most revered place, 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,” said General Galvez.
“The President is always very supportive and serious in his guidance to the AFP in sealing the peace process here in Muslim Mindanao,” Galvez said.
General Galvez was welcomed by MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim and was joined by top military commanders from General Headquarters of the AFP and the Western Mindanao Command.
“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,” Ebrahim said.
The AFP 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, lined up on both sides of the 5-kilometer road from Cotabato City to Simuay, Sultan Kudarat Municipality, Maguindanao where the MILF seat of government is located to welcome a visiting military commander.
“We have deployed BIAF members as early as seven ‘o’clock in the morning to make sure that nothing could go wrong,” said Eduardo Guerra one of the members of the MILF Central Committee. “It is also to show how we treasure the visit of the AFP Chief-of-Staff in our home.”