MILF, Philippine security sectors’ friendship game kicks off in Marawi City

COTABATO CITY- Basketball friendship tournament between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 103rd Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) commenced on Sunday Jan 29 at Camp Ranao Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. 
The event is sponsored by United States Institute of Peace, in partnership with Strategic Communications and Capacity Building (SCCB) aimed to strengthen camaraderie and coordination among government security sectors (PA,PNP) and the MILF which is being conducted on weekend basis for a duration of one year. 

USIP Visiting Expert Dr. Haroro Ingram said, “it began a conversation with Commander Dela Rosa of PA and MP Bravo about how we can build peace and friendship at the grassroots level, how potential issues out in the field could be overcome by uniting here plank, ponding and eating together.”

“throughout this entire process of organizing KAMBOLAYOKA (Basketball friendship game) event there was never even a moment of hesitation, everyone recognized and enthusiastically committed to, at working toward this event, in fact this series being successful.” Said Ingram.

“the key here everyone acknowledged not just the valuable symbolic power of bringing together the MILF, the AFP and the PNP to play together as friends unified but also very practical building a relationship, building those line of communication which is so important for building a genuine lasting and sustainable peace.” He stressed.

Haroro Ingran further said, “peace maybe planned and conditions agreed upon in government buildings, and hotels in the cities but the actual peace is one, which is sustained, it flourishes in a relentless issue, a fulltime commitment that is block by block, street by street and like today’s event person by person.”

Meanwhile, MP Abdullah Macapaar said, “No Armed Forces, no MILF and no PNP we are brothers and friends and will work together for peace here in Mindanao especially here in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte.

“I hope we are happy with what we are doing, like this basketball game, let's prove that we are united, let's get rid of the anger, it's not against each other but as friends and brothers. Let’s develop Philippines and especially Mindanao. As MILF front commander, if there is arising issue, you can come to our camps through our CCCH and AHJAG, let’s work together to solve it.” Said Macapaar.

Also, message of support from Philippine Army, BGen Yegor Rey Barroquilllo Jr. who was just assumed commander of 103rd in Jan. 27, said, “Our desire here in the province of Lanao is peace and development, this is our collective aspiration, we can achieve it through unity and cooperation. what we are doing and will do today really fits in with what I want to happen in our area in Lanao let's have unity and cooperation.”

“Thanks to the United State Institute of Peace and the office Strategic Communications and Capacity Building (SCCB), you can count on the full support of the 103rd Brigade in such activities. On the part of the Philippine Army and MILF let's enjoy it and this is just the beginning and we will continue doing it.” Bgen Barroquillo Jr. said.

Accordingly, the event is historic in a way AFP, MILF and PNP have an engagement in this particular sport. It symbolically and practically important for the community because it’s forging relationship, line of communication and building connection. It is conducted weekly and end of this year, there would be a championship tournament in a gymnasium.