Galvez is still Peace Adviser; vows Marcos committed to peace process, especially in Bangsamoro 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 July) – Retired General Carlito Galvez is still Presidential Peace Adviser “on holdover capacity” to avoid interruption or disruption in the activities of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) “and the implementation of the comprehensive peace process,” Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez said in a memorandum order.

MindaNews received on Friday, July 8, a copy of Rodriguez’ Memorandum Order No. 1, dated 30 June 2022 but stamped and signed July 7 by the Malacanang Records Office, stating that Galvez will stay in office on a holdover capacity “until 31 December 2022 or until his replacement has been appointed or designated, whichever comes first, unless he is reappointed in the meantime” and that the memo order “shall take effect immediately.” 

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, however, the Palace had yet to officially announce Galvez’ holdover. There was no announcement also from the OPAPRU. 

Secretary Carlito Galvez, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. File photo courtesy of OPAPP

But Galvez at 10:28 p.m. on Friday sent MindaNews by phone a “message of Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity on the celebration of Eid al-Adha 2022 / 1443 AH,” extending, on behalf of the men and women of OPAPRU, his “warmest greetings” to “our Muslim brothers and sisters” as they celebrate the Feast of Sacrifice.  July 9, Eid’l Adha, was the date indicated in the message. He did not respond why there has been no official announcement on Memo Order 1.

The OPAPRU sent a copy of the Eid’l Adha message to reporters via email at 6:01 a.m. on Saturday. 

Eid’l Adha is one of Islam’s two major festivals celebrated by 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. It is celebrated yearly to mark the end of Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca and to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (Abraham among Christians) act of sacrificing his eldest son, Ishmael. God spared the boy’s life and instead gave Abraham a lamb to sacrifice.

“As nations across the globe confront the challenges caused by armed conflict, poverty, inequality and the current health crisis, may all of us be inspired by the remarkable journey made by members of the Islamic faith,” Galvez said. 

He said the solidarity shown by the Ummah will serve as a shining example to the Filipino people and “encourage them to remain united and work together, as we pursue our collective vision of achieving a just and lasting peace in our country.”

“The Marcos administration is inspired by the lessons imparted by the Eid al-Adha, and is determined to continue the implementation of the comprehensive Philippine peace process, especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Galvez said. 

The anniversary celebration of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process on 30 September 2019, paved the way for a brief reunion among brothers in the Bangsamoro struggle — Nur Misuari, founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (2nd from Left, between Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri), Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim MIndanao, and Muslimin Sema, former chair of an MNLF faction and former Cotabato City mayor. The three Moro leaders were reunited onstage for a souvenir photo with personalities from other peace processes. Sema reached out to shake Misuari’s hand, hugged and kissed him on both cheeks, followed by Murad. Photo courtesy of OPAPP

MindaNews had been checking since Monday on who the OIC of OPAPRU is since President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. had not named a Peace Adviser but no one from the office could give an answer.  Several names had been mentioned to be on the short list for Peace Adviser. 

The OPAPRU’s email on Saturday morning did not include a copy of Memo Order 1. MindaNews checked with Robert James de Roque, the OPAPRU’s Media Relations Order,  why there was no release of the copy of Memo Order 1 from Malacanang or the OPAPRU and if the Eid’l Adha message is to be taken as the announcement of holdover. “That statement is also the announcement of the holdover,” he replied. 

In December 2018, then President Rodrigo Duterte named Galvez as his Peace Adviser, the fourth retired general and third retired Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to head the then 25-year old Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process,  although his appointment paper referred to him as Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. 

But it was only six months ago,  through Executive Order 158 on December 27, 2021 when Duterte renamed OPAPP into the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU). 

Galvez succeeded lawyer Jesus Dureza who resigned on November 27, 2018 after Duterte fired two of his subordinates due to corruption. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)