BARMM Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal, other Bangsamoro Officials Pay Courtesy Call on AFP’s WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido

Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal presents gifts to WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido. (All photos: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)
WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido presents a Plaque of Appreciation to BARMM Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal.

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By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News

WESMINCOM, Zamboanga City, May 9, 2023 (SDN) — Top officials of the Bangsamoro government led by Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal today, Tuesday, called on Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) Commander Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido.

WESMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido gestures, emphasizing a point as Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal listens.

Before his appointment by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) unified command in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Galido headed the Philippine Army’s (PA) 6 Infantry Division (6ID) based at Camp Siongco, Awang Airport, Cotabato City, Maguindanao del Norte.

Among the officials from the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) who accompanied Iqbal in the visit included Director General for Madaris Education Tahir Nalg, Director General for Basic Education Abdullah Salik, Jr., Director General for Higher Education Marjuni Maddi, Director General for Technical Education Ruby A. Andong, Chief of Legal Division Atty. Mohajid S. Guro, Assistant Secretary for Operation Sitti Mariam Balahim, and BARMM Manila Liaison Office Ghafur Kanain, and others.

Galido warmly welcomed Iqbal, fondly calling him “Bapa” (Uncle), and his party at the entrance of the WESMINCOM Lounge where they had an informal talk touching on a range of subject matters. The two government executives have known each other since way back as they both advanced the Mindanao peace process.

Philippine Air Force (PAF) Brig. Gen. Vincent Incognito (GSC), engages in a light conversation with Bangsamoro officials.
MBHTE Director General for Basic Education Abdullah Salik, Jr. makes a gesture as he speaks. In a black jacket is MBHTE Director General for Madaris Education Tahir G. Nalg.

Soldiers and ex-Moro rebels appreciate the peace owing to the 2014 CAB

The WESMINCOM chief noted the improving peace and order situation in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Galido’s observation of what could be described as the Bangsamoro region’s generally peaceful and stable environment is easily attributable to the forging of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed on March 27, 2014. As a result, former enemies — soldiers and Moro rebels — are now partners in peace.

And both parties are obviously relishing the reign of peace and understanding and harmony in the region; no more of the deadly conflict between them.

For the soldiers as well as the rebels have families they love and cherish, which a shooting war would disrupt.

The courtesy call at WESMINCOM.

Established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the CAB, the Bangsamoro region is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 barangays or villages dubbed Special Geographic Area (SGA) that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.

According to the Philippine Atlas has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur.

On his part, Iqbal acknowledged the significance of the courtesy call on Galido, hinting that it was a reaffirmation of their partnership for peace and for the Filipino nation.

Now governing the BARMM through the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the MILF chaired by Bangsamoro Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and the AFP are now partners for and in peace.

Iqbal, who wears many hats in the Bangsamoro peace process, thanked Galido for the warm welcome. The two also exchange gifts, while the WESMINCOM chief also presented the BARMM official with a Plaque of Appreciation to memorialize the visit.

Based at Camp Navarro, Upper Calarian, WESMINCOM has jurisdiction over Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and BARMM, tasked to defend the Philippines from external threats and from terrorists and criminals. (✓)

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