Military rolls out red carpet for Murad before crucial plebiscite

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) rolled out the red carpet for Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim during his historic visit to Camp Aguinaldo on Monday, November 19.

The military band played as Murad stepped off his vehicle onto the red carpet rolled out for him in front of the military headquarters. He was handed a white rose before he was led to meet the AFP hierarchy and shook their hands.

Murad is the first MILF chairman to step foot in Camp Aguinaldo following more than 3 decades of Muslim rebellion in Mindanao that historians said killed over 100,000.

A beaming Murad enjoyed the ceremony, while AFP chief Carlito Galvez Jr was at his side. It was symbolic of the growing partnership between the military and the rebel group that embraced peace talks with the government.

RED CARPET. Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim gets a warm welcome from the Armed Forces of the Philippines on November 19, 2018. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

RED CARPET. Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim gets a warm welcome from the Armed Forces of the Philippines on November 19, 2018.

Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

Murad made the historic visit two months before the crucial January 21 plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a product of the peace process creating a new autonomous region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (READ: Bangsamoro law to be 'vaccine' vs terrorism)

The visit also comes after the MILF welcomed Galvez to Camp Darapanan last October.

Before Murad, several ranking MILF officials also visited Camp Aguinaldo back in July. – Rappler.com