AFP chief vows to campaign for BOL approval once he retires
CAMP DARAPANAN, Maguindanao — Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), vows to campaign for the approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) once he bows out of office in December.
Galvez made the commitment on Saturday during a visit to Camp Darapanan, a military installation of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
It was his second visit inside the sprawling MILF camp, where he received a warm welcome. The first time he visited was when he he was still the commander of the 6th Infantry Division.
Accompanying Galvez were Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, and Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry Division.
“So starting Dec. 12, once I hang my uniform, I will campaign for a yes vote on the BOL as my contribution to the Mindanao peace process,” Galvez said, receiving applause from MILF leaders and fighters.
“I will help in the challenges facing the BOL. We will solve it. Together we will make it happen,” he added.
The three Army ranking officials and their subordinates were unarmed when they entered the so called “Lion’s den” for former “enemies.”
Galvez served as chair of the government ceasefire panel and helped tremendously in defusing tension between government forces and MILF fighters while the peace deal was being ironed out.
The MILF, led Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, conferred on him the Soldier of Peace Award, the first to be given by the MILF to any government military officer.
On entering the camp, the three AFP officers were escorted by heavily armed MILF fighters, including women, to the main office where Murad and other MILF leaders extended them a warm welcome.
“This visit represents the degree of progress we have made over the years in bringing significant cooperation and avoiding confrontation among us Filipinos,” Murad said.
Sammy Al-Mansour, chief of staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), said Galvez had visited to MILF base alone and unarmed as chief of government ceasefire panel.
Now as chief of staff of the AFP, Galvez further strengthened that friendship between the government and the MILF.
“It is better and logical this way than we resort to shooting when at the end of the day all of us are losers,” Al-Mansour added. /atm
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