Sat. May 25th, 2019

MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar passes away


MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:27 a.m.) — Ghazali Jaafar, Moro Islamic Liberation Front vice chairman and chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission died due to a cardiovascular disease early Wednesday. He was 75 years old.

Jaafar passed away at around 1 a.m. at a hospital in Davao City, the BTC said in a Facebook post. The BTC drafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law that led to the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The MILF official was supposed to serve as speaker of the parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, The STAR reported.

Life dedicated to the Bangsamoro cause

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, interim chief minister of the BARMM, said Wednesday morning they will remember Jaafar as a hardworking “mujahid” who dedicated almost his entire life to the Bangsamoro cause. Mujahid is Arabic for freedom fighter.

Ebrahim, Jaafar, and the MILF’s former chief negotiator, now BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, were still adolescents when they joined the Moro National Liberation Front in the early 1970s.

They bolted the MNLF along with senior rebel leader Ustadz Hashim Salamat in the early 1980s and founded the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is more religious in character.

Salamat, who studied Islamic theology at the Al-Azhar University in Egypt, and the Political Science professor Nur Misuari organized the MNLF in the early 1970s but became estranged over irreconcilable ideologies and religious convictions.

Relatives said Jaafar died at past 1:00 a.m. Wednesday in a hospital in Davao City where they rushed him days before his condition deteriorated.

‘A big loss to the leadership’

Ebrahim said in an interview on ANC that he and Jaafar had been in the Bangsamoro struggle for almost 50 years.

Jaafar was the first chairman of the MILF negotiating panel when peace talks started in 1997 and forged the ceasefire agreement with the government, Ebrahim said.

“We consider him as a big loss to the leadrship of the MILF and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. He was supposed to be recommended to be the first speaker of the parliament… but then, we have his… this is a natural happening and we need to move forward,” Ebrahim also said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez has expressed condolences to the family of the late BTC chair and Bangsomoro Transition Authority member.

“As a great Moro leader, Jaafar, the first vice chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, showed us his determination in leading the Moro people through the passage and eventual ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” Galvez, who had been actively involved in the process even while commander of the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, said in a statement.

“Despite his deteriorating health he still proceeded in the massive campaign for the passage and eventual ratification of (Bangsamoro Organic Law),” he said.  (John Unson [philstar.com])

John Unson

John Unson, The Philippine Star's writer and the president of the Kampilan Defense Press Corps (KDPC) based in Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID) at Camp Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.