MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher M. Iqbal Congratulates New Defense Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr.

Façade of the Main Building of the Bangsamoro Government Center (BGC) in Cotabato City. Credit: BARMM

By EDD K. USMAN

| @edd1819 | @bluestar0910 | SDN – SciTech & Digital News

Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-poc

(SDN) — Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chair and Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal today, January 10, congratulated Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. as the new head of the Department of National Defense (DND).

Galvez is secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).

President Ferdinand M. Marcos, Jr. appointed him to the DND as announced by the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Monday.

Iqbal, also the chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel in the Mindanao peace process between the Philippine government (GPH) and the MILF, recalled that he had worked with Galvez for several years in the past.

That was, he added, when the new Defense chief appointee was in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), “where he has served in various leadership positions,” including AFP Chief of Staff and as commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) based in Zamboanga City, Region IX, as chief implementor of the government’s National Task Force against Covid-19, and as President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), then re-appointed to the same post by Marcos.

In short, in the many years that Iqbal and Galvez had worked alongside each other in the Mindanao peace process, it is safe to say the two have built a comfortable zone between them, their relations can be described as amiable.

In fact, Iqbal, now a Member of Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao/Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BARMM-BTA), commended the former top military officer for his contributions to the GPH-MILF peace process.

“We are specifically thankful to Secretary Galvez for his direct contributions to GPH-MILF peace process. He has been a partner in the faithful implementation of the peace agreements and the annexes. His deep understanding of the context and challenges of the Bangsamoro and good relations with the MILF has brought us nearer to the goal of peace in the Bangsamoro,” he emphasized.

In relation with the new position of Galvez, Iqbal expressed confidence of new Defense chief’s capabilities.

“We are confident that Galvez will excel in this new position and are excited to see what he will achieve in the coming years. Again, our congratulations on this well-deserved appointment.”

With the change in the leadership of OPAPRU, the BARMM and MILF official is also looking forward to whoever replaces the former AFP Chief of Staff and WESMINCOM head.

“The MILF looks forward working with the next Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (PAPRU) to be appointed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos,” said Iqbal.

He was counting on a new OPAPRU head to continue and sustain the implementation of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the product of the 17 years GPH-MILF peace talks.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) signed by Duterte in 2018 created the BARMM as a new political entity (NPE) as part of the CAB’s implementation.

Iqbal hopes “the momentum that was started will continue to be sustained.”

He added that there are lessons to be learned from history, saying a successful implementation of the peace agreement requires:

  • (1) a deep understanding and work experience in the Bangsamoro context,
  • (2) ability to articulate and think about national peace policy,
  • (3) familiarity in dealing with the international diplomatic community who are very much invested in peace in the region,
  • (4) since the peace process is in the implementation phase, the skill sets required should be governance, development and humanitarian and integration of military-civilian functions and
  • (5) more importantly, not hostile to the MILF as an organization.

“Again, congratulations to Secretary Galvez and as we continue the work on peace in the Bangsamoro, we await to working closely with the next PAPRU,” said Iqbal.

As this developed, the new PAPRU has a job in the implementation of the CAB waiting, especially that one of the accord’s major parts is the Normalization Track that covers the decommissioning of still many more MILF weapons and combatants.

Credit: MaxPixel.net

There are still others that a new PAPRU shall be involved in the implementation. (/)

Iqbal’s statement in full:

STATEMENT OF CONGRATULATIONS TO SECRETARY CARLITO G. GALVEZ, JR.

Congratulations to Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. on his appointment as Secretary of National Defense.

We have worked with Secretary Galvez for many years and on various roles — when he was in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), where he has served in various leadership positions, including Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, Chief Implementor, National Task Force against Covid-19, and when he was appointed as Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) by President Rodrigo R. Duterte and reappointed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

We are specifically thankful to Secretary Galvez for his direct contributions to GPH-MILF peace process. He has been a partner in the faithful implementation of the peace agreements and the annexes. His deep understanding of the context and challenges of the Bangsamoro and good relations with the MILF has brought us nearer to the goal of peace in the Bangsamoro.

We are confident that Galvez will excel in this new position and are excited to see what he will achieve in the coming years. Again, our congratulations on this well-deserved appointment.

On the other hand, the MILF looks forward working with the next Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (PAPRU) to be appointed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos.

The hope is that the momentum that was started will continue to be sustained. If lessons can be gleaned from history, a successful implementation of the peace agreement, would benefit if the following are present:

  • (1) a deep understanding and work experience in the Bangsamoro context,
  • (2) able to articulate and think about national peace policy,
  • (3) familiar in dealing with the international diplomatic community who are very much invested in peace in the region,
  • (4) since the peace process is in the implementation phase, the skill sets required should be governance, development and humanitarian and integration of military-civilian functions and
  • (5) more importantly, not hostile to the MILF as an organization.

Again, congratulations to Secretary Galvez and as we continue the work on peace in the Bangsamoro, we await to working closely with the next PAPRU. (✓)

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