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Moro leaders attend Galvez promotion to AFP chief

Rodrigo Duterte with Carlito Galvez Jr. - 18 April 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte with the incoming AFP chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., during the Change of Command Ceremony at the AFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Queozn City on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

For the first time, leaders of secessionist movements in Mindanao attended the change of command ceremony at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters, recognizing the efforts of the newly installed military chief, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, to forge peace in the country’s war-torn region.

Galvez took over as AFP chief of staff from retired Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, whom President Duterte had appointed to head the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

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Galvez, a Scout Ranger, spent years in the peace-building efforts of the government and was co-chair of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

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As commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade in Basilan, Galvez, then a colonel, forged a friendship with MILF commander Dan Asnawi, which paved the way for the completion of infrastructure projects in the area.

Among Galvez’s guests were Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leaders Muslimin Sema, Yusoph Jikiri and Datu Randy Karon, who is a close aide of MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari; Gazhali Jaafar, Mohagher Iqbal and Sammy al-Mansoor of the MILF.

In his speech, Galvez expressed “full support for the peace process” with the MILF and the MNLF and underscored the need to work with government agencies, nongovernment organizations and other stakeholders “to address the underlying cause of conflict.”

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Galvez was commander of the Western Mindanao Command when the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group took over Marawi City.

Guerrero replaced Marcial Amaro III, who was fired by Mr. Duterte.

The President also cited the “unparalleled number” of surrendered communist insurgents and terrorists during Guerrero’s tour of duty, “from less than 800 prior to his assumption (of office) … to more than 5,000.”

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TAGS: Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Carlito Galvez, Philippine news updates, Rey Leonardo Guerrero
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