PASIG CITY (14 February 2022) — Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. vehemently condemned two separate armed attacks that led to the death on Saturday, February 12, of nine people in Maguindanao and two children in Northern Samar on February 8.

According to the Maguindanao provincial office and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, the vehicles of the victims were ambushed by still unidentified assailants while traversing a road in Barangay Kalumamis in Guindulungan, Maguindanao.

The assault, authorities said, was due to a “rido” or clan war between two Moro families.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless attack which took away nine lives. Armed violence has once again reared its ugly head and is causing fear, animosity and instability among our people,” Galvez said.

“The peddlers of violence of death are once again at work and are doing everything possible to negate the gains we have achieved in promoting the culture of peace. We must not allow this to happen,” he added.

Galvez said the shooting incident in Maguindanao is a symptom of a deeper problem that must be jointly addressed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and members of the community.

“We must be able to look beyond the personal reasons behind these armed attacks and decisively address the roots of the problem. This culture of violence has to stop or else more innocent lives will be lost,” Galvez said.

He urged the leadership of the MILF, who are well-respected and highly regarded by their people, to use its positive influence to help resolve the situations of conflict among feuding families.

“We are aware that such incidents are personal in nature. But we also believe that the MILF leadership has the moral obligation to help find ways so that the parties involved in these feuds can reach a peaceful settlement,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Galvez also denounced the killing of two children in Barangay Roxas, Northern Samar on Saturday when members of the New People’s Army (NPA) open fired at members of the Army’s 803 Infantry Brigade as the latter were passing through the community.

The victims, Andre Mercado, 12 and Leandro Alivio, 13, were gathering coconuts when the shooting incident occurred.

Galvez described the attack against government forces as “inexcusable, heartless and displays the true nature of the Communist Terrorist Group.”

“This was not only an attack against our soldiers. This was an attack against innocent civilians. The blood of these two children are on their hands and they must pay for this dastardly act and the other killings they have perpetrated in the past,” Galvez said.

He pointed that the CTG is a “spent force whose anachronistic ideology and tactics are no longer recognized even by its own followers who have realized that they have been merely exploited and abused.”

“The CTG must realize that its time has come to an end. Even the group’s supporters have turned away from it after realizing that they are just being used to promote twisted political agendas. The Filipino people can no longer be deceived,” Galvez said.

The peace adviser called on the Filipino people to rally behind the Duterte Administration’s peace agenda, which aims to repair the social fabric of society that has been torn by decades of armed violence.

“Let us join hands and work together so that we can finally put an end to this cycle of violence that has claimed countess innocent lives and pushed back our nation’s development. This is the only way we can bring peace, reconciliation and unity to our nation,” Galvez said. ###

[Featured photo is a file photo of Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.]