AFP, MILF unite to watch Pacquiao's victory

By Jasper Acosta, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Apr 13 2014 03:50 PM | Updated as of Apr 13 2014 11:50 PM

MAGUINDANAO -- At least 100 soldiers of the 6th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), led by their commander, MGen. Romeo Gapuz, and more than 50 fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gathered in watching, cheering and celebrating Manny Pacquiao's victory against Timothy Bradley on Sunday.

The public viewing was held at a gymnasium in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, where Camp Darapan, the largest and known main camp of the MILF, was located.

Gapuz personally came to the gymnasium to watch the fight, along with Sok Biruar, a sub-commander of the MILF.

Both the AFP and the MILF men, who were in their full battle gear, watched the fight seriously and chanted for the People's Champ.

"Ito ay nagpapatunay na kami at ang MILF ay nagkakaisa na. Tapos na ang giyera at sawang-sawa na kami sa kaguluhan," Gapuz said.

"Ang ganda ng samahan namin ngayon ng AFP matapos ma-pirmahan ang Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). Ito ay pagpapakita na ang army at MILF ngayon ay nagkakaisa na," Sok Biruar added.

Mayor Shameem Mastura said he personally invited the MILF and the army to watch the fight together, in order to show to the public that after the signing of the CAB, the relationship of both sides continues to improve.

The viewing was also seen as a confidence-building measure for both sides in pursuing lasting peace, he said.

Aside from the free public viewing, the local government also gave out free lunch to those who watched the fight in the gymnasium.

"Naisipan ko na gawin itong public veiwing kasama ang army at MILF upang lalong pagtibayin ang pagsasama ng MILF at army tungo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan, at kasama ito sa aking 10 point agenda na dapat ang mga kabataan ngayon ay mahumaling sa sports at hindi sa droga," Mastura said.