SECRETARY Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., who is on holdover capacity as presidential peace adviser, on Tuesday gave reassurance on the government’s commitment to peace efforts after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s first address to the nation did not mention the Bangsamoro, a region in southern Philippines that is undergoing a delicate transition.
In a statement, Mr. Galvez said he held several dialogues last week “with our peace partners from the Bangsamoro” who pledged continued support to the peace process “and fully supporting all initiatives” by the Marcos administration.
“We are at a critical juncture on the implementation of the signed peace agreements on the Bangsamoro and the transformation and normalization of former combatants, their families, and communities,” he said.
“Political support for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is most crucial now than at any time previously.”
The President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday came on the heels of a political controversy in the Bangsamoro leadership and a high-profile crime connected to the region.
There were recent reports of a rift within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the group that signed a peace deal with the government and is at the forefront of the region’s transition.
Bangsamoro Minister of Parliament Abdullah B. Hashim, son of the late MILF founder Salamat Hashim, issued a statement on Sunday condemning those using his father’s name “in sowing intrigue to divide the ranks” within the former rebel group.
“You should not let personal grievances and political sentiments create political chaos in the guise of ‘following’ my father’s way. You should not let the maneuverings of some politicians use you for their personal dreams of power,” Mr. Hashim said.
“If you wish to exercise your democratic rights, then exercise them at the proper time. When the time comes for elections, the BARMM will be open as mandated by law,” he said.
Meanwhile, the suspect at a shooting incident at the Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday left dead former mayor Rosita U. Furigay of Lamitan City, capital of the BARMM province of Basilan, along with her assistant and a university security officer.
Police said the suspect’s motive was a personal grudge against the mayor.
The Furigay family’s lawyer had said that the rift stemmed from the city government’s implementation of a closure order against the suspect’s medical clinic, which was operating without a license. The closure order was issued by the Bangsamoro Ministry of Health.
Mr. Galvez called on all stakeholders to make a collective effort and put “national interest and the welfare of the Bangsamoro people before any and all political ambition, self-interest, and personal or pecuniary gain.” — MSJ