Malaysian general visits Sulu to monitor PH's peace effort with MILF

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2020 09:57 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2020 10:58 AM

Malaysian Major General Dato' Muhammad Anwar Bin Abdullah. Photo courtesy of the Joint Task Force Sulu

MANILA - A Malaysian general who heads the international team of monitors of the Philippine government's peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) visited officials in Sulu on Thursday as part of efforts to keep track of the peace agreement.

Major General Dato' Muhammad Anwar Bin Abdullah, who heads the International Monitoring Team (IMT) - Mindanao Batch 15, met with the Joint Task Force-Sulu commander and the Sulu governor "to discuss the ongoing peace efforts in the region and the positive developments in the GPH-MILF peace process," the military said in a statement.

Anwar paid JTF-Sulu Commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales and Governor Abdusakur Tan a courtesy call seven months since his installation in the IMT. His movement was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their meeting, which was also attended by MILF Deputy Chairman Basaron Kamlon, Gonzales commended the MILF for upholding peace in the area.

"The MILF is also helping a lot in peace and order. They are collaborating in some of our efforts. In fact, they also signed the Peace Covenant," said Gonzales.

The MILF forged a peace agreement with the government in 2014, leading to the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law four years later that reorganized the government and the territorial coverage of the Muslim region in Mindanao.

It is believed to address the root causes of violence in Mindanao caused by the Muslim insurgency over the past decades.

Anwar's visit was timed during the season of the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

"Mohammad is a model leader. I pray that we will continuously be blessed with the same leadership, wisdom and sincerity. Inshallah (in God’s will) we will be steadfast in our endeavor," Anwar said.

The IMT members are also set to visit Tawi-Tawi.

"It is really important the the IMT came here so that they can see for themselves the situation here," said Gonzales.

Meanwhile, in Maguindanao, 10 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrendered Wednesday, the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.

Courtesy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Western Mindanao Command

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., WesMinCom chief, said in a statement the men also turned over three rifles (M14, M16A1, and M79), two rocket-propelled grenades, and several other weapons and explosives.

The BIFF are renegade members of the MILF who were not in favor of the peace agreement with the government.

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