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MILF, Marines celebrate PMC `birthday' together

Mindanao Peace Process • 18:30 PM Fri Nov 22, 2019
280
By: 
John M. Unson
Brig. Gen. Eugenio Hernandez led Thursday’s symbolic activity in Cotabato City (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY - Former bitter enemies, one fighting for Moro cause and the other for national sovereignty, were together in Thursday’s symbolic commemoration here of the 69th founding anniversary of the Philippine Marine Corps.

The chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Hadji Murad Ebrahim, who is figurehead of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was guest of honor in the event led by Brig. Gen. Eugenio Hernandez, commander of the 1st Marine Brigade.

Ebrahim was accompanied to the venue of the ceremony by senior officials of the BARMM government, created early this year based on agreements reached by the MILF and Malacañang during 22 years of peace talks.

Forces of the Philippine Marines Corps, or PMC, and the MILF figured in fierce clashes in central Mindanao in 2000 and, subsequently, in 2003.

The hostilities exacted heavy fatalities on both sides and maimed no fewer than 50 MILF guerillas and Marine servicemen.

Marine units under Hernandez are presently deployed in towns in the first district of Maguindanao and in coastal municipalities in Lanao del Sur where there are MILF enclaves recognized as “peace zones” by the national government.

Thursday’s celebration of the 69th founding anniversary of the Philippine Marines here was capped off with a traditional “birthday cake” rite that Hernandez officiated in the presence of Ebrahim and Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Brig Gen. Marni Marcos, director of the Police Regional Office-BARMM, also graced the ceremony that brought together officials of the Philippine Marines and MILF leaders once hostile to each other. 

 

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