MAKATI CITY – The United Nations commended Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (PAPRU) Sec. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. for his “commitment and professionalism in peacebuilding efforts with the United Nations Philippines.”

In a reception organized by the UN on Wednesday evening, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo González presented a plaque of recognition to Galvez for his major contributions to the comprehensive Philippine peace process.

In his remarks, Gonzales cited the major milestones achieved by the Philippine government under the peace process.

“The Government scored an important number of achievements in bringing peace to the Philippines – the Normalization Program jointly implemented by OPAPRU and MILF, and supported by the wide range of peace and development partners,” he said.

Gonzales said these initiatives include the “effective decommissioning of 20,000 MNLF combatants in 2019 and close to 11,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Moro National Liberation Front members being given the training and opportunity to be tested and enter the police force of the Bangsamoro, a key commitment in the Peace Agreement.”

According to the UN official, Galvez “personally contributed to the absence of major conflict since the Marawi Siege in 2017 which has led to [the] increase of economic activity across the Bangsamoro region,” which he noted “is a clear demonstration of the so-called peace dividends.”

Gonzales also cited how Galvez “also contributed to the strengthening of the role of women and the youth in the peace process, conflict transformation and the protection of human rights,”  that is deemed “crucial for securing sustainable peace.”

The UN Philippines, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported the Philippine Comprehensive Peace Process through its various peacebuilding interventions.

These include, among others, its Support to Peacebuilding and Normalization (SPAN) Programme; assistance to the Normalization Program for decommissioned MILF combatants through the Security Enforcement in the Peace Process, Stabilization, Recovery, and Transformation for Peace (START-PEACE) Project; and the SPAN Programme 2.0: Transformation, Inclusion, and Empowerment for Peace and Development (TIESPAD) Programme.

Gonzales likewise reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to continue supporting the Philippine peace process.

“[We are] looking forward to our continued close collaboration with the Government of the Philippines, and we hope that the collective investment made in peace and reconciliation will be nourished and expanded by the new administration,” he said.

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin recognized Galvez’ key role in the liberation of Marawi in 2017 when he was still commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom).

“We all Filipinos are truly grateful… This (Galvez) is the victor of Marawi and as I always brag, we took back Marawi when it took the entire six years for the West to take back Racha and it turns out most guys in Racha got away, these ones did not,” Locsin said.

He also lauded Galvez for leading the implementation of the government’s pandemic response efforts, saying, “When he was appointed to fight COVID, well, the outcome is a foregone conclusion and I can say we had victory in that front “

In response, Galvez thanked the UN and other international development partners for their invaluable contribution in strengthening the Philippine peace process.

“The United Nations and its attached agencies are among the longest and most active partners of the OPAPRU in carrying out  its mandate of managing, directing, integrating, and supervising the implementation of the comprehensive peace process, including initiatives that promote and reinforce national reconciliation and unity,” he said.

“Even as we transition to the new administration, I would like to assure the UN, its attached agencies, and all International Peace Partners present, the OPAPRU is committed to implementing all signed agreements, including all efforts in promoting and reinforcing National Reconciliation and Unity,” Galvez added.

The peace adviser also mentioned the priority areas of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., which he hopes the international development community will support.

These include agricultural and food security; climate change adaptation; economic recovery; improved health care and education; enhanced infrastructure projects, including digital infrastructure; utilization of renewable energy sources; strengthened tourism and jobs reaction; and sustainable development.”

Galvez also welcomed the establishment of the Joint UN Programme which will be co-chaired the OPAPRU, BARMM Government and the UN Resident Coordinator, a multi-stakeholder program that is expected “to provide a major boost to peace and development efforts in the Bangsamoro.”

“We would therefore like to call on our international partners to provide the incoming administration with the same level of support you have given to the Duterte administration, as we continue to lay the foundation for genuine peace and sustainable development,” he said.###