By Martin Sadongdong and Francis Wakefield
The Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and the Department of National Defense (DND), expressed their condolences to the family of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Vice Chairman Ghazali Jafaar who died in Davao City on Wednesday.
The 75-year-old MILF leader who also served as chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) passed away at the Metro Davao Medical and Research Center (MDMRC) in Bajada, Davao City.
According to Dr. Angela Tan, attending physician, Jafaar was admitted at the hospital on Monday until he died from shock multifactorial (colon cancer) at around 1:40 a.m.
“The Philippine National Police joins the Filipino nation in mourning over the passing of Chairman Ghazali Jaafar of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee,” said Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson.
From being a “worthy adversary” as a militant to finally becoming a “peace partner,” Banac underscored that Jafaar “shared the PNP’s aspirations for a genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through its Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. offered its prayers and condoles with the relatives and friends of Jaafar for his untimely demise.
The military said Vice Chair Jaafar has been instrumental to the quest for peace in Mindanao as the AFP’s dependable partner in that elusive aspiration.
“His insights and dedication as a person and as a peace advocate will be his enduring legacy— not only to the Bangsamoro people but to the entire nation as well. For those whom he left behind, the pursuit for peace continues until its fruition,” the AFP said.
Army 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) Commander Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana also expressed his condolences to the family of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member.
In a statement, Sobejana said the whole 6th ID and Joint Task Force (JTF) Central are one in condoling with the family, friends and loved ones of Jaafar.
“He is a big loss to the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). The people of the Bangsamoro will never forget him because of his peace efforts. He left a legacy that everybody remembers,” Sobejana said.
In a separate statement, the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) has also extended its condolences following Jaafar’s death.
“The men and women of the Western Mindanao Command extend their commiseration to the bereaved families of Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, whose legacy as a peace stalwart and devoted leader shall live on,” the Western Mindanao Command said.
“His contribution to the peace efforts of the government and the security forces shall forever be remembered. We beseech the eternal repose of his soul. May Allah bless and grant him eternal place in Jannah,” it added.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said the men and women of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) mourn the passing of the great Moro leader Jaafar.
“We would like to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family and relatives of Jaafar,” Galvez said.
“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.”
“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 added.
Galvez, in the same press statement, said Jaafar selflessly dedicated and devoted his life for others.
“Truly, he is a man of peace. May the Almighty and Merciful Allah bless his soul,” he said.
Department of National Defense (DND) Spokesman and Public Affairs Service Chief Director Arsenio R. Andolong, said in a statement that the DND deeply condoles with the family and friends of Jaafar.
“His fight for peace will not be forgotten and his legacy will live on with the successful implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. May Allah grant him rest in Jannah,” Andolong said.
Jaafar had served as the chairperson of the MILF peace negotiating panel, first vice chairman of the MILF Central Committee and MILF for political affairs.
He was also appointed as the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee in January 2017 and member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority which led to the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
“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,” Banac stated.
“On behalf of the PNP high command, we express our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Chairman Jaafar and his colleagues in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” he concluded.
According to the Davao City police, Jafaar’s body was claimed by his family around 3:45 a.m. Wednesday and brought to Sitio Tapuken, Brgy. Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for Muslim burial rites.