Retired military chief Carlito Galvez Jr. seen here in a photo taken when he was still in active duty. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

Galvez is new peace adviser

Cotabato City-Retired military chief Carlito Galvez Jr. will be new peace adviser. This was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte during a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo on December 11 where Galvez relinquished his post to Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in a change-of-command. 

“General Galvez will join the Cabinet next week as secretary of the peace process office. I think he is the ninth military man to join my government,” Duterte said, as quoted by ABS-CBN News in its report on December 11.

In the same article by ABS-BN News, it said that Galvez replaces former Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) chief Jesus Dureza, who resigned in the wake of corruption allegations against his subordinates.

Galvez 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," ABS-CBN News said.

Galvez’s appointment to the OPAPP has sparked concerns of further militarization in the bureaucracy, which could affect government’s stalled peace process with communists.

Ironically, most Bangsamoro welcomed his appointment as new peace adviser.

Galvez’s appointment also comes as Mindanao is preparing for a plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law slated on January 21, 2019. The law envisioned to bring greater autonomy and more power to the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

As “Friend of Bangsamoro” as he claimed to be, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Central Committee warmly welcomed him during his visit to Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last October. In his message during his visit to the largest MILF Camp, he formally declared the end of war between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the MILF.

In his speech, Duterte also lauded Galvez’s accomplishments as military chief.“We recognize his significant contributions in strengthening our armed forces, especially in his efforts to eradicate the ills that plague our society. He fought corruption within the organization by initiating reforms that improved the financial state of our soldiers and the efficiency of the financial systems [in] the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Duterte said.