Pres­i­dent picks Galvez as top peace ad­viser

Gulf Times - - PHILIPPINES - By Catherine S Va­lente

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has picked out­go­ing Armed Forces chief Car­l­ito Galvez Jr as his next top ad­viser on the peace process, Mala­canang said yes­ter­day.

In a state­ment, Palace spokesman Sal­vador Panelo said Duterte made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing the 32nd Cab­i­net meet­ing in Mala­canang on Tues­day.

“The pres­i­dent an­nounced his in­ten­tion to ap­point Gen­eral Car­l­ito Galvez Jr to the Of­fice of the Pres­i­den­tial Ad­viser on the Peace Process (OPAPP),” Panelo told re­porters.

Galvez will re­place Je­sus Dureza, who re­signed from his post over Duterte’s fir­ing of his two un­der­sec­re­taries for cor­rup­tion.

Dureza’s res­ig­na­tion came in the wake of Galvez’s pro­nounce­ment that he wanted to be­come a peace con­sul­tant at the OPAPP when he re­tires on De­cem­ber 12.

Galvez was chair­man of the gov­ern­ment’s Com­mit­tee on the Ces­sa­tion of Hos­til­i­ties be­fore tak­ing over the mil­i­tary’s helm.

He served for 12 years in Min­danao, dur­ing which he said he vis­ited rebel lairs where sol­diers were of­ten killed, earn­ing th­ese ar­eas the tag “point of no re­turn.”

Galvez has said he “saw the mis­ery” in large parts of the South, which lacked ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion and ba­sic ser­vices.

His pos­si­ble ap­point­ment came less than two months be­fore the Jan­uary plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Or­ganic Law, which grants wider sel­f­rule in Min­danao in south­ern Philip­pines.

Galvez said he would urge the Bangsamoro Is­lamic Free­dom Fighters to join the cru­cial Bangsamoro plebiscite.

Galvez’s ap­point­ment im­plies the “death of peace talks” be­tween com­mu­nist rebels and the gov­ern­ment, the Mak­abayan bloc of law­mak­ers said yes­ter­day.

“We are not sur­prised. The ad­min­is­tra­tion re­ally shows that they do not value peace ne­go­ti­a­tions,” ACT Teach­ers party-list Rep. An­to­nio Tinio and rep­re­sen­ta­tive Fran­cisca Cas­tro said in a news brief­ing.

Anakpawis rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ariel Casi­lao de­nounced the de­ci­sion to ap­point Galvez, de­scrib­ing him as “pow­der­brained and trig­ger-happy.”

“A pow­der-brained and trig­ger-happy gen­eral does not suit such a po­si­tion,” he said.

The Mak­abayan law­mak­ers pre­vi­ously said they would file a case be­fore the Om­buds­man against Galvez for “reck­lessly” ac­cus­ing Cas­tro and for­mer Bayan Muna rep­re­sen­ta­tive Satur Ocampo as top com­mu­nist rebels.

Cas­tro said Galvez’s pro­nounce­ment put her life in dan­ger.

She and Ocampo were both part of the “Talain­god 18” who were re­leased after post­ing bail for charges of kid­nap­ping and hu­man traf­fick­ing.

Galvez: new role

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