AFP declares the end of the war with MILF

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. has officially declared that the war is over between the Philippine military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“I can now declare that the war between the Armed Forces and the MILF is finally over,” Galvez said as reported by The Manila Times.

Galvez announced this during his visit to MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim on Saturday, October 6, at the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat.

“To my commanders, let us embrace our brothers and sisters and give them respect and lasting peace that the Moro people deserve,” the military chief added.

Many high-ranking military officials from the national headquarters and the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) accompanied the AFP chief. There were about 6,000 MILF supporters lined up along the Sultan Kudarat highway that welcomed Galvez and his party.

In return, Ebrahim expressed joy on the visit of Galvez to their camp, describing it as “historical.”

“This visit represents the degree of progress we have made over the years in bringing significant cooperation between our military officers in our quest for peace in the Bangsamoro homeland,” Ebrahim said.

The MILF leadership awarded Galvez with the “Soldier of Peace Award. Galvez was said to be the first military officer to receive such an award from the group.

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

Galvez’s meeting with the MILF leadership came months after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

As the former head of WestMinCom, he was one of the key military officials during the five-month Marawi City siege in 2017 and the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division. Both of which were deals with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Central Mindanao.

Galvez was also the Philippine government’s chairman for the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities in 2015.

Galvez also compared the MILF to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). He noted that the communist rebels have been “deceptive, manipulative and insincere.”

“They burned road project equipment, they executed thousands, even their own comrades. They extort and always wanted to take advantage,” he said.

“[The communist rebels] do not have the sense of honor or ‘Maratabat’ of the MILF,” he added.

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