BARMM officials hail Galvez appointment: ‘Good for us’

Ferdinandh Cabrera, Ferdinand Zuasola
BARMM officials hail Galvez appointment: ‘Good for us’

NEW DND CHIEF. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks to newly appointed Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. in an undated photo released by the Presidential Communications Office.

Presidential Communications Office

A former Davao Region military chief says the reappointment of General Andres Centino as chief of staff 'bastardized' the AFP system

COTABATO, Philippines – Bangsamoro region officials and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday, January 9, hailed the appointment of presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. as defense secretary, saying his new task would be favorable to the predominantly Muslim region.

But not all are happy with the resignation of Department of Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr., who stepped down over the reappointment of General Andres Centino as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“It bastardized the whole system with a returning chief of staff. It was wrong for them (Marcos administration) to do that,” said retired Army major general Reuben Basiao, formerly AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence and commander of the Davao Region-based 10th Infantry Division.

Faustino broke his silence on Tuesday, January 10, confirming talk that went the rounds that he resigned over Centino’s reappointment. He said he had been kept out of the loop about President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s move.

Centino’s reappointment cut short Lieutenant General Bartolome Bacarro’s term.

Notwithstanding the controversy over Centino’s reappointment, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Murad” Ebrahim lauded Galvez’s appointment as defense secretary, saying it would boost the gains in the Bangsamoro region.

Ebrahim cited Galvez’s record and contribution to the Mindanao peace process.

“We very much welcome the appointment of Secretary Galvez. He was crucial on several occasions in the quest for lasting peace in Mindanao,” Ebrahim said.

He said Galvez was also responsible for efforts to unify the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

In 2022, MNLF founder Nur Misuari graced the oath-taking ceremony for the new set of BARMM officials, and he and Ebrahim hugged each other on stage in Cotabato City.

Ebrahim noted that Galvez was the first AFP chief of staff to set foot in the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, on October 7, 2018.

That was the day the MILF officially declared the end of its war against the government.

A month later, Galvez invited Ebrahim and other MILF leaders to Camp Aguinaldo, where they were treated as guests of honor by the AFP, recalled Ebrahim.

BARMM Labor Minister Muslimin Sema, also the MNLF chairman, called Galvez a “peacemaker” who “opened the door into a common playground for everybody.”

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong said Galvez had been tested even in battle, especially during the 2017 Marawi siege.

“He made all efforts to reach out to the Ulama (religious leaders), talked to them about how they could help at that time,” Adiong said.

As a soldier, Galvez has had a long stint in Mindanao, from junior officer to commander of the 6th Infantry Division, and subsequently the military’s Western Mindanao Command. –

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