MILF Chairman Murad visits Maguindanao army camp for the first time

With his staff and the base commanders of the Central Committee, Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front set foot in an army camp in Maguindanao on January 13.

The momentous visit is the first time after five decades of struggle against the Philippine government.

Major General Cirilito Sobejana led soldiers of the Joint Task Force Central in welcoming MILF Chairman Murad as he arrived at Camp Gonzalo Siongco, the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Sunday.

MILF Chairman Murad joined Major General Sobejana and other military officials in a roundtable discussion on security held at the hall of flags of the 6th Infantry Division.

“I am happy that, as the 35th Commander of the 6ID, it is the very first time that the MILF Chairman visited the home of Kampilan with his staff and base commanders,” said Major General Sobejana. “The visit is very timely as the plebiscite is upcoming. Rest assured that we will provide a democratic space for everybody to cast his votes and we will also let democracy work.”

The military fully supports all peace initiatives and development progress of Chairman Murad as he assumes the leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, added Major General Sobejana.

“We are very happy that the MILF and the security forces of the government welcomed us as a partner for peace,” said Chairman Murad. “As declared by former AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez, Jr., during his visit in Camp Darapanan, we have already ended our war with the Philippine government.”

”I would like everybody to know that, even before, our late MILF Chairman Hassim Salamat  had always been very persistent in his pronouncement that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Government are not our enemies because our enemy is oppression, our enemy is exploitation, and our enemy is injustice,” he added.

“We are all fighting for all of this, and it is just incidental that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Government are the structures of the other side. We affirm that until now we are not enemies. We are, in fact, partners in finding peace and sustainable progress in our area. We know that we have the same objective to defend our country, to defend our people, and to defend the progress so we are very confident that we can be a longtime partner until we achieve our aspiration,” said Chairman Murad.

“The Western Mindanao Command is more than elated to work with MILF Chairman Murad and the rest of the liberation front in bringing our common aspiration into realization. Indeed, this is only the beginning of our convergence efforts to end decades-long armed struggles and to win the peace and development in Mindanao” said Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, the WestMinCom Commander.

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