Galvez declares end of war with MILF; MILF honors him as “Soldier of Peace”

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CAMP DARAPANAN, Sultan Kudarat) — With no firearms and no armed escorts, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez entered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Camp Darapanan on Saturday to formally declare the end of war with their erstwhile enemies.

“I will work hard and dedicate my life for the Bangsamoro. I love you all. Today is the end of war and now we will begin Peace in our land,” Galvez, the first AFP Chief of Staff to visit the MILF camp, wrote on the MILF’s guest book.

CHIEFS OF STAFF. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez (L) and Sammy Al-Mansoor, Chief of Staff of the Moro Islamic LIberation Front’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces walk towards the MILF Central Committee hall in Camp Darapanan, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao on 06 October 2018. MIndaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

Galvez was welcomed with members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) including women,  lined up along a five-kilometer stretch from Cotabato City to Camp Darapanan in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao where the MILF honored him as a “Soldier of Peace.”

Galvez, who served as chair of the government peace panel’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) during the peace process with the MILF, later serving as 6th Infantry Division Chief and Western Midnanao Command chief,  was accompanied by Westmincom chief,  Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega and 6th IDchief Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

Galvez was CCCH chair when the Mamasapano Tragedy happened on January 25, 2015 and was Westmincom chief when the Marawi Siege happened last year.

It was not the first time Galvez visited the camp. As CCCH chair, he would sometimes go to the camp alone, to address brewing tensions, said Sammy Al Mansoor, the Chief of Staff of the BIAF.

Al Mansoor said Galvez was among those instrumental in the success of the peace process between government and the MILF due to his dedication and sincerity.

The government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014 after 17 years of peace negotiations. The CAB provides for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity, that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

Galvez assured the MILF that he would campaign for the ratification of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as soon as he steps down from his post on his retirement on December 12.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chiar Al Haj Murad Ebrahim assists Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez as he wears the jacket marked with Bangsamoro Organic Law that the MILF gave Galvez when the latter visited the MLF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on 6 October 2018. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

“Kaya gusto ko na po mag-retire, kasi pwede na po ako magkampanya sa Bangsamoro (That’s why I want to retire, so I can campaign for the Bangsamoro). So starting December 12, once I hang my uniform, pwede na po akong mangampanya para isulong ang peace process at isulong ang BOL sa lahat ng kanyang nasasakupan. At tutulong din po ako dun sa sinasabing challenges (I can already campaign to push for the peace process and to push for the Bangsamoro law in the proposed core territory. And I will also help address the challenges). We will solve it. Together we will make it happen,” Galvez said.

Murad said they have reached “the height of friendship.”

“This visit represents the degree of progress we have made over the years in bringing significant cooperation,” he said.  (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)

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