IN PHOTO- MILF Chairman Al Murad Ebrahim (Center) with UNICEF Officials, and delegation during their visit at Camp Darapanan

MILF Jointly Celebrates with UNICEF Its Delisting from UN List of Organizations’ Recruiting Child Soldiers

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delegation headed by Ola Almgren, UN Resident Coordinator, Philippines, together with Julia Reese Deputy Representative Philippines and Andrew Morris, Chief, Mindanao Field Office met with MILF key officials, BIAF and BIWAB Commanders at the MILF Administrative Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao yesterday, Monday, December 4, 2017.

The party composed of other UN Agencies were welcomed by MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, other Central Committee officials namely, Chief of Staff Sammy Al-Mansor, Architect Edward Guerra, and Toks Ebrahim who were the MILF’s counterpart in the planning and completion of the UN-MILF Action Plan that led to the de-listing of Moro Islamic Liberation Front from annex of listed parties under the Report of the UN-Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict.

Witnessing the UNICEF officers delivering congratulatory messages, and commendation to the MILF were U.N. partners, the Non Violent Peaceforce, and representatives from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

In addition, the UNICEF officers gave assurance of their full support in mutual endeavours, child protection programs, and health care.

USec Ronald Flores of Office of the President on the Peace Process read the message of OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza.

Chairman Al Haj Murad said that the occasion is another milestone in the MILF’s journey towards just and lasting peace in the Bangsamoro. The achievements are testaments to the MILF’s sincerity and commitment in protecting their children.  

Chairman Al Haj Murad said further that, “With the on-going implementation of some aspects of the CAB, which is a negotiated political settlement, they are optimistic that situations engendering the indirect involvement of children in military activities would no longer present themselves now, and in the future.”

Chairman Al Haj Murad also emphasized that, “The MILF has been candid enough to admit that compelling situations in the past brought about by war, nay even existential moments, has unfortunately forced children to a situation where their services, though not necessarily military, are of such a character as to appear as such.”

“It is the joint efforts of UNICEF, and MILF in the completion of the UN-MILF Action Plan that we are here today in celebration” and took the opportunity to thank the UN and UNICEF for all the support given them the past years”, he added.

The meeting ended up with Almgren meeting the disengaged children from MILF-BIAF.