Bangsamoro unity, cooperation urged

All stakeholders in pursuit of long-lasting peace in the Bangsamoro region must rejoin the call for unity for the national interest and welfare of the people, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., said Wednesday.

Galvez, in a statement, said Bangsamoro’s key stakeholders should prioritize the region’s constituents before anyone’s “political ambition, self-interest and personal or pecuniary gain.”

Hence, Galvez renewed the call for mutual understanding and cooperation among stakeholders in the Bangsamoro and its local leaders.

“We believe that everyone in the Bangsamoro shares the same dreams, hopes and aspirations. We, therefore, encourage them to engage in open and peaceful dialogue in order to resolve pressing issues facing them,” Galvez said.

The peace adviser also encouraged the public to end political bickering “that will sow anger, division and discord.”

“If left unaddressed, he said this could undermine the gains achieved under the peace process over the years,” Galvez said, emphasizing that the election is already over and it’s time to set aside “animosity created by this political exercise.”

Galvez called for unity as the first regular elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will be conducted three years from now.

“Until such time, there is a need for us to provide the BARMM leadership with all the support it needs so that it can continue to effectively serve its people,” he added.

Galvez said it’s now time to “reject the politics’ culture of division, animosity and fear.”

Galvez said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) has already conducted a smooth reconstitution of the new set of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) members that will ensure the continuity of the comprehensive peace process in the region.

With strong commitment from the current administration, he believed that pressing issues and concerns of the peace process will still be addressed.

He said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has given a “clear-cut instruction” to ensure the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace agreements will continue.

“President Marcos is fully aware of the situation in the Bangsamoro. He puts a premium on the welfare of the Bangsamoro people,” Galvez added.

Galvez appeal

Meanwhile, Galvez appealed for reconciliation, healing, and eventual forgiveness, especially to the families of those who are involved in the Ateneo shooting that killed former Lamitan City Mayor Rosita Furigay, her aide Victor George Capistrano, Ateneo de Manila security guard Jeneven Bandiala, as well as Rolando Yumol, the gunman’s father.

Galvez, who was a former battalion commander assigned in Basilan and ex-chief of the Western Mindanao Command, expressed resounding condemnation of the shooting incident saying it might take away the gains of peace not only in Lamitan but also in the entire province.

He said he witnessed how the once conflict-ridden Basilan province transformed into a productive, peaceful and developed area.

Furigay was a “strong ally” of the security forces and was “instrumental” to achieving these momentous events in pursuit of the peace process in Basilan, he added.

Galvez said the slain ex-Lamitan mayor also led the implementation of key initiatives for peace and development in the province.

He cited Furigay’s great contribution to maximizing the economic potential of Basilan.

“I witnessed how the former mayor spearheaded peace and development efforts in the province. The best way to honor her memory is to sustain the initiatives she has started,” Galvez said.

Furigay was killed in a shooting incident during the School of Law graduation day at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City raged by Dr. Chao Yumol on 31 July, with her daughter also left wounded.

“Reconciliation, healing, and eventually, forgiveness are needed to end violence in Lamitan City. I call for sobriety among the parties concerned and residents in the city. If left unaddressed, the situation could escalate and negate the gains of peace we have achieved in Basilan. This is something we would like to avoid at all costs,” he added.

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