MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday announced that retired military chief Carlito Galvez Jr. will be his new peace adviser.
Duterte made this announcement as Galvez relinquished his post to Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal in a change-of-command ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.
“Si 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.
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.
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’s appointment to the OPAPP has sparked concerns of further militarization in the bureaucracy, which could affect government’s stalled peace process with communists.
But Duterte has repeatedly shrugged off his appointment of former military officers to the government, saying they are better workers.
Galvez’s appointment also comes as Mindanao is preparing for a plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a measure that is envisioned to bring greater autonomy and more power to the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.
DUTERTE LAUDS GALVEZ, WELCOMES MADRIGAL
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.
He cited Galvez's efforts in leading internal security operations and the enforcement of martial rule in Mindanao, a reference to military operations during the Marawi siege.
"This led to the neutralization of more than 2,000 terrorists, the recovery of thousands of firearms, and the clearing of seven guerrilla fronts.”
Meanwhile, the President said Madrigal was now tasked to solve the communist insurgency using the whole-of-nation approach.
“From the military-centric approach that gave us our recent successes against the communist movement, we now shift to a new civilian-led approach that will tap other government agencies and other private sector in bringing basic services and other development interventions that will address the root cause of the communist movement,” Duterte said.
“General Madrigal, you are now tasked with the responsibility of preserving peace and ensuring order as we shift to this new approach. Sustain the progress of those who came before you and create a legacy that will cause ripples [of] positive change in the years to come.”