MILF gunmen in southern Philippines (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian Deputy President Jusuf Kalla on February 1 received a delegation of the south Philippines-based Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is visiting Indonesia to learn from the successful peace process in Aceh province.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Kalla said the MILF delegation paid a visit to Aceh to observe the region’s development after the peace agreement as well as the progress achieved in Indonesia.

Kalla said he had shared his experience in encouraging peace in Aceh that was torn by a prolonged conflict between the local armed group and the Indonesian military. Mutual respect must be the first priority in every peace mission, and secondly, a compromise, he stressed, adding that Indonesia still has 10 monitoring teams in Manila.

Lauding the development of Aceh province, head of the MILF delegation Murad Ebrahem noted that the group will learn from the example set by Indonesia in conflict settlement.

The same day, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi also met with the delegation.

The foreign minister has conveyed her support to the ongoing efforts in South Philippines in order to achieve peace, and she has also encouraged all parties, including MILF, to contribute to the peace building process and to maintain peace, said Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arrmanatha Nasir.

During their visit to Indonesia, the MILF delegation was scheduled to meet representatives of several Indonesian Islamic organizations, such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah.

Indonesia has been active in enabling the peace process in South Philippines since the 1990s, including its involvement in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in the South Philippines.

As of 2018, Indonesia has sent 84 officials to the IMT, which was created in 2004 to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement forged by the Philippines government and the MILF in southern Philippines in 2003.

Indonesia`s involvement in peace building efforts was also shown when Marsudi launched a cooperation agreement with the local government on the field of Islamic education during her visit to Davao city of south Philippines in January.

The governments of Indonesia and Philippines had agreed on the importance of developing Islamic education, which will cover curriculum development, joint research and education workshops; teacher exchange programmes; technical vocational education and student exchange programmes, especially in Islamic schools in South Mindanao.

Indonesia has also offered 100 scholarships each year to students and teachers of Islamic schools in Mindanao of the Philippines to study in Indonesia.-VNA