Huge crowd flocks to “Peace Day” event at Camp Darapanan

 A huge crowd estimated at about 150,000 individuals from Cotabato City and different provinces in Mindanao flocked to the administrative base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao during the Mindanao Peace Summit held jointly by the MILF and the Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) on January 24, 2016.

The event was declared “Peace Day”. The unveiling of the peace monument was made after the program by MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Man Hee Lee of the HWPL and Nam Hee Kim, Chairperson of International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG).

Grand Mufti Abuhuraira Udasan, Sammy Al-Mansour, Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), Toks Ebrahim, BIAF’’s Administrative Officer, Von Al Haq, Spokesman of BIAF  and other prominent members of the MILF Central Committee, Maguindanao local officials, and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) headed by MGen Moksin Bin Sheikh Hassan also witnessed the unveiling ceremony.

The total number of four-wheeled vehicles of different types counted was over four thousand with more than one thousand motorcycles. This included those that trooped to Awang Airport to welcome the Korean guests and their delegation and those that entered Camp Darapanan.

From the airport, the well-arranged motorcade assisted by the Mindanao Alliance for Peace (MAP) headed by Dr. Abdulmanan Gayak was escorted by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) up to the Simuay junction.

From the Simuay junction, armed members of the BIAF escorted the convoy towards the MILF Military Academy ground, the venue of the event.

Prominent members of the MILF Central Committee, key officials of Maguindanao led by Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu were already at the venue when the Koreans arrived all the way from Awang airport.

South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines also came to grace the occasion.   

Chairman Al Haj Murad in his speech said, “We stretched our hands in welcoming our visitors. Many in the world around are experiencing conflicts. We Bangsamoro people experienced 5 centuries of conflict. While today peace is insight but it is still out of reach. Reason is the absence of justice. Our cry is peace with justice”.

Meanwhile, Chairman Lee in his message said, “I am a messenger for peace. Let us work hard for peace. Let us stop the war and work for peace for our next generations”.

Chairwoman Kim stressed, “We are unveiling a peace monument. The sky is with us in this endeavour. All of us must be messengers of peace”.