PASIG CITY — Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Carlito G. Galvez is very confident that the incoming administration will continue and sustain the gains of the peace process achieved under the Duterte Administration over the past six years.
“Key milestones have been realized during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. It is our hope and prayer that the incoming administration will continue to protect, sustain, and build upon the gains of the country’s peace processes,” Galvez said.
At present, the Duterte Administration is implementing the Six-point Peace and Development agenda, which serve as guide to the peace process, the implementation of peace agreements, and the protection and development of conflict-affected and -vulnerable communities.
The Duterte Administration’s peace and development agenda is geared towards attaining just and lasting peace, which is one of the crucial foundations that support the pillars of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022: Malasakit, Pagbabago, and Patuloy na Pag-unlad.
Bangsamoro peace process
Under this framework, the peace process in Bangsamoro has two parallel efforts: one for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and two for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
For the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the Duterte Administration achieved major milestones in the political track, which are the passage of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), paving the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the appointment of the interim members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
“The creation of the BARMM and the BTA are a testament of President Duterte’s sincerity and unwavering commitment to honor all peace agreements signed between the national government and revolutionary groups,” Galvez said.
For the Normalization Track of the CAB, 19,345 combatants have been decommissioned and thousands of firearms were put beyond use.
“Through the Normalization Program and its various components, thousands of former MILF combatants have been decommissioned and are now undergoing transition to peaceful and productive civilians,” Galvez said.
The decommissioning is currently in its third phase, and should be continued to the fourth phase until all combatants of the MILF are fully decommissioned.
For the MNLF, the national government and the MNLF leadership crafted a Transformation Program that aims to uplift the socio-economic well-being of the organization’s members.
“The government has created two separate GPH-MNLF Peace Coordinating Committees which are now actively engaging the groups of founding chairman Nur Misuari and Chairman Muslim Sema, and closely working with them to implement peacebuilding initiatives in their communities,” Galvez said.
But what is more remarkable and inspiring, he said, is the key role that the MNLF is now playing to help maintain peace and security in Mindanao, particularly in the group’s areas of coverage, which include Maguindanao and the Sulu archipelago.
“With the help of both the MILF and MNLF, members of violent extremist groups who once fought government forces have laid down their arms and returned to the folds of the law. Our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters have now become instruments of peace,” Galvez said.
Local Peace Engagement
The Presidential Peace Adviser said the incoming administration should continue the successful implementation of the Executive Order No. 70, which employs a whole-of-nation approach in ending the cycle of violence perpetrated by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).
EO 70 led to the creation of the National Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed (NTF-ELCAC), a multi-agency effort that aims to put an end to the armed rebellion by directly addressing the roots of the conflict.
Galvez said the NTF-ELCAC has utilized Local Peace Engagement (LPE), one of the body’s 12 lines of effort, in effectively engaging CTG members and convincing them to return to the folds of the law.
“Through the conduct of LPEs, we have helped empower local government units and other local stakeholders to act as bridges of peace and take a more active role in community and peacebuilding,” he explained.
“We are negotiating peace directly on the ground,” he emphasized.
Transforming Former Combatants
Under the peace process with the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group (RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG) or KAPATIRAN, and the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA), the national government is implementing socio-economic interventions that are helping the groups’ members improve their way of life.
Under the Duterte administration, the parties in 2019 signed the Clarificatory Implementing Document, which is the final and absolute settlement of the peace deal which ended years of armed conflict between the government and the former revolutionary organization. Closure agreement has hastened the transformation process of the hundreds of Kapatiran members
“Through our engagements with the KAPATIRAN and CBA-CPLA, we are witnessing firsthand how former rebels can become instruments of peace and change, and consequently, serve as a shining example that good things come to those who walk the path of peace,” Galvez said.
Turning-over Peace Roadmap
With the milestones achieved by the national government in the peace process, he said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) continues to strengthen the foundations where a just and long-lasting peace can take root and flourish.
“We will turn over to the new administration once it assumes office a proposed peace policy agenda and refreshed three-year roadmap of the peace tables and support programs that build upon the gains of the peace process,” Galvez said.
“It is our hope that this peace roadmap will help the incoming administration in formulating its peace and development agenda, and pushing forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process,” he added.
Healing and Reconciliation
And with the Duterte Administration set to turn over the reins of government a few weeks from now, the peace adviser urged the Filipino people anew to set aside partisan politics and support the incoming administration in its task of nation-building.
“We are rallying all the Filipino people to come together. The election is over. Let us work together in tearing down the walls of divisiveness, bitterness and animosity of partisan politics as we move towards national healing and reconciliation. Let us respect the decision of the majority and support the new administration as it takes over the reins of nation-building,” Galvez urged.
“I am very confident that the next administration will lead in our collective quest for a just and lasting peace in the country. I call on our peace partners and former rebel groups to continue to work for peace, especially in Mindanao since the spokesperson of the presumptive President has earlier said that the ‘peace and progress in Mindanao’ is one of their priorities under its ‘unifying vision,’” Galvez emphasized.
“The Duterte Administration is leaving behind a legacy of peace. May this legacy of peace be sustained by the next administration so that we can create a better, brighter and peaceful future for the next generations,” Galvez said. ###
[Cover photo: File Photo of Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.]