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Published on Jan 27, 2013
Sumisip Basilan (Jan 21 2013) -- The expected tension-filled meeting between the long-time nemesis in the battlefield Hj. Dan Asnawie, MILF commander in Western Mindanao and the visiting Col. Carlito Charlie Galvez, the commander of the 104th Brigade had turned more-like a gathering of long time friends when we together with the International Monitoring Team arrived. It was the first time for Col. Galvez to enter Sitio Baag Barangay Giuiong, Sumisip, Basilan; which is believed to be one of the strongholds of the MILF; with hostility down.
There were at least two reasons for the visit: One was to hold the 1st Joint Activity on Amicable Settlement of Family Feud (RIDO) which includes strengthening the newly established ties between AFP and MILF, and another was to finally --on the grassroots level-- lay the foundation and spread the gospel of peace and security and the benefits our Bangsamoro brothers would reap from it.
Col. Galvez was so glad that the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) had been signed without which he said would be impossible to hold joint cooperation like this one between government forces and the MILF. He said prior to the agreement any encounter between the two forces would mean loss of lives.
Although the said amicable settlement did not push through for reason that the one party whose presence is key to the resolution of the feud were not able to come to the event nevertheless it remained historical for we have not seen before a large number of Philippine Army soldiers and policemen that entered a critical area in the midst of and outnumbered by enemy forces yet without even a single gunfire.
According to Tomanda D. Antok in the FAB conference the other day, the GPH-MILF panel has stated in the FAB the necessity of the continued presence of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) even after the finalization and implementation of the Bangsamoro government. And this is not without reason.
Yesterday it was very evident that the arrival Col. Halim of Malaysia, leader of IMT Site 3, and his men each from Indonesia and Brunei has strengthened the harmony in the event. The meeting had become cordial all the more. Col. Halim even suggested that Commander Asnawi should also visit the Western Mindanao Command so that the Philippine Military may reciprocate his generosity in welcoming the 104th Brigade Commander.
We arrived and left Sumisip on a chopper through the hospitality and proficient flying of the Philippine Air Force (Riza P. Lacbao)