MAGUINDANAO – Malaysia’s deputy defense minister and 30 other officials of the Malaysian Armed Forces visited central Mindanao on Thursday to help improve security and strengthen peace efforts between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Deputy Defense Minister Dato Sri Mohd Johari bin Baharum was given a military guard of honor by the 6th Infantry Division (ID) upon his arrival at the headquarters in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat.
Johari met with 6th ID Commander Major General Carlito Galvez and the two discussed the present situation in central Mindanao and challenges it could face in the future.
After the visit, Johari went to the headquarters of the International Monitoring Team-11 in Cotabato City where he was briefed by head of mission Major General Datuk Wira Zamrose bin Mohd Zain on the current situation of the ongoing ceasefire between the Philippine government troops and the MILF, and the role of the monitoring team.
On Thursday afternoon, the Malaysian deputy defense minister stopped by the central committee of the MILF headed by first vice- chairman Ghazali Jaafar in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao, where Malaysian officials will discuss with their MILF counterpart on how to improve security and development aspect in Mindanao.
After the camp visit, he will visit the grand mosque in Barangay Kalanganan, Cotabato City where he will give assistance to 30 orphans in the Shariff Kabunsuan Orphanage.
The International Monitoring Team was deployed in Mindanao in 2004. It consists of 37 members, 16 of which came from Malaysia and the other members are from Indonesia, Brunei, Japan and the European Union to monitor the ongoing ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government troops and the MILF.