MILF vice chairman dies at 75

MANILA. President Rodrigo Duterte (third from left) helps in assisting Ghazali Jaafar, vice-chair for Political Affairs and Chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, after briefly falling following oath-taking ceremony for the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) at the Presidential Palace in Manila on February 22, 2019. (AP)

MORO Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar (real name Salih Abo) died Wednesday dawn, March 13, in a hospital in Davao City.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Colonel Bernard Banac said based on report from the Davao City Police Office, Jafaar, 75, was pronounced dead at 1:39 a.m. at the Metro Davao Medical and Research Center due to several complications in the kidney, heart and abdomen.

MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim said Jaafar, prior to his death, frequently returns to the hospital for confinement and check-ups due to his health condition.

Jaafar underwent angioplasty last year in order to improve the blood flow on his heart.

Jaafar was assigned as chief of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which drafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) for the creation of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).

He was also a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which will look over the Barmm transition.

His last public appearance was at the oath-taking of BTA members held at Palace on February 22.

The PNP and Malacañang condoled Wednesday with the family of Jaafar.

"Our deep thoughts and sincere prayers to Mr. Ghazali Jaafar who died early morning today, March 13, 2019," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

"The Palace takes this opportunity to send our heartfelt condolences to the family members and friends of Mr. Jaafar. He has fought many battles for peace and may Allah grant him a place in Jannah (Paradise)," he added.

“The PNP expresses its deepest sympathy and condolence to the family for the death of Vice Chair Ghazali Jaafar, him being a partner of the government in peace-building in Mindanao, and a pillar of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” said Banac.

“From a worthy adversary to a partner in peace, Chairman Jaafar shared the PNP’s aspirations for genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao. By reaching out the magnanimous hand of friendship and peace, Chairman Jaafar sought to make the peace process work thru the newly-ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he added.

Jaafar was the first chairman of the MILF peace negotiating panel when talks with the government started in 1997. He was also responsible for a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Panelo acknowledged Jaafar as a "warrior of peace."

In a separate statement, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr. branded Jaafar as a "great Moro leader" who showed "determination in leading the Moro people through the passage and eventual ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law."

"We will never forget that despite his health condition, Jaafar went the extra mile to join several campaign rallies to push for the realization of the Moro people's aspiration for a genuine and meaningful autonomy," Galvez said.

"Jaafar selflessly dedicated and devoted his life for others. Truly, he is a man of peace," he added.

Professor Raby Angkal, the family's spokesperson, said the remains of the Moro revolutionary leader will be brought home to Sitio Tapuken, Barangay Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, where he will be buried based on Muslim rites. (SunStar Philippines)


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