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Senators mourn passing of MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 02:51 PM March 13, 2019

Updated 4:31 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Wednesday expressed their grief on the death of the first vice chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chairman Ghazali Jaafar.

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Jaafa passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 75.

READ: First MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar passes away

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Senator Richard Gordon said he is “deeply saddened” by the passing of Jaafar, adding that “it would be hard to get a replacement for him” in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my Muslim brother Ghadzali Jaafar, who is the speaker of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and first vice chairman of the MILF. It would be hard to get a replacement for him in the BTA,” Gordon said in a statement.

He said Jaafar’s passing is a “deep loss” to the country and his leadership “will be missed.”

“His sincerity, wisdom and experience are attributes needed to drive his and our dreams of a successful Mindanao… We all have to work as one now and continue what he has started,” Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he felt “truly grateful” to have had the chance to work with Jaafar whose “brilliance and passion” will stay with him “forever.”

“We are a poorer nation for his passing, having lost not only an astute intellect but also a committed heart,” Zubiri said in a separate statement.

“But though his passing leaves an aching hollow, we will always remember him, as his life’s work has interminably changed the course of Mindanao’s history, and the nation at large,” he added.

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An inspiration for Mindanao peace  

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, said that he hopes Jaafar’s passing will “inspire enhanced peace efforts” in Mindanao.

Pangilinan said Jaafar knew that peace in Mindanao “means progress for the entire country.”

“He lived knowing that peace is not only an outcome but also a process that needed the participation of as many stakeholders as possible, including not only of the warriors on both sides or the Bangsamoro people but also of regular folk and indigenous and settler communities,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

“May his death inspire enhanced peace efforts in the island of Mindanao that would mean better lives for all, especially Filipino children,” he added.

A warrior for Muslim rights

Senator Grace Poe called Jaafar a “warrior for Muslim rights and warrior for peace.”

Poe noted how Jaafar “held on to hope” amid challenges in the establishment of the Bangsamoro region for the Moro people.

“Amid the grueling challenges, he held on to hope and saw through the establishment of the Bangsamoro region for the Moro people’s self-rule,” Poe said in a statement.

“The people who are left behind will make sure all your initiatives for a peaceful society will not come to an end,” she added.

Senator Sonny Angara called Jaafar “a voice of reason and a voice for peace” and he will “surely be missed.”

He also described Jaafar as “one of the architects of the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindando) and the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law)” since he headed the BTC as one the of pillars of MILF.

“He (Jaafar) was highly determined to get the best deal for his constituents, but was also willing to be flexible on some points in order to come up with a new organic law for Muslim Mindanao,” Angara said in a statement.

Continuing the fight

Meanwhile, Senator Bam Aquino said the BOL will serve as a good memory to Jaafar’s fight for peace and development in Mindanao.

“Hanga tayo sa pagsisikap ni MILF Vice Chairman Jaafar na maabot ang inaasam na kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa Mindanao,” Aquino said in a statement.

(We admire the efforts of MIF Vice Chairman Jaafar to bring peace and development to Mindanao.)

“Maiiwan na magandang alaala ng kanyang ipinaglaban ang Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), na siyang susi sa pag-unlad at pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa rehiyon,” he added.

(Good memories will remain about his fight to pass the Bansamoro Organic Law, which is key to the vision for development in the region.)

Senator Joel Villanueva also expressed his condolences to the family, nothing how Jaafar “spent decades in the struggle for the Bangsamoro, never wavering until peace was attained.”

“Umaasa po tayo na ipagpapatuloy ng Transition Commission ang mga nasimulan na trabaho ni G. Jaafar at pagiibayuhin pa ang kapayapaan at katatagan ng BARMM,” he said in a statement.

(We are hoping that the Transition Commission will continue Jaafar’s work and will even work harder to achieve peace in the BARMM.)

Senator JV Ejercito described Jaafar as “one of the biggest pillars” in the fight for Moro independence and Mindanao peace.

He added that while Jaafar’s passing is sad, he is “sure that he died with a sense of fulfillment as he witnessed the signing and ratification of the Organic Law.” /ee

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