Wednesday Mar, 22 2023 04:57:13 AM

Navy's Marine Corps supports Mindanao peace process

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 15:30 PM Sun Feb 5, 2023
John M. Unson
Major Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan huddles with retired Marines while in Maguindanao del Norte. (John Unson)

BARIRA, Maguindanao del Norte - The Philippine Marines reassured support for the southern peace process on Saturday in this former main bastion of the Moro Islamic Moro Islamic Liberation.

Dozens of Marines perished in an offensive in 2000 that drove away Moro guerillas here, then known as the MILF’s Camp Abubakar, and in strategic stretches of the Secretary Narciso Ramos Highway straddling through nearby barangays where the group once had fortified enclaves.

Major Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan, commandant of the Navy’s Philippine Marine Corps, also urged local executives and their 1st Marine Brigade here to cooperate in maintaining law and order in municipalities around.

Gaerlan was here Saturday to lead the commemoration of the 48th anniversary of the activation of the 1st Marine Brigade.

The brigade, presently led by Brig. Gen. Eric Macaambac, is based in Barangay Tugaig here, the center of the MILF’s erstwhile Camp Abubakar.

No fewer than 60 Marines and Army combatants perished in operations in 2000 that resulted in the takeover and hoisting of the Philippine Flag in MILF enclaves here and in surrounding mountain ranges in Maguindanao del Norte’s adjoining Barira and Buldon towns.

Gaerlan, in a message that capped off the celebration here of the 48th activation anniversary of the 1st Marine Brigade, said units of the Philippine Marine Corps are also ready to help the infant Bangsamoro regional government implement its peace and development projects for areas affected by secessionist conflicts in decades past.

“We are here to help make the Mindanao peace process succeed,” Gaerlan said.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, established in 2019, is a product of 22 years of peace talks between Malacañang and the MILF.

The chairman of the MILF’s central committee, Ahod Ebrahim, is now BARMM’s appointed chief minister.

The 1st Marine Brigade covers Datu Blah Sinsuat and upland Iranun-dominated towns in Maguindanao del Norte and parts of Lanao del Sur province via the 2nd and 5th Marine Battalions.


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