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Karapatan hits AFP Chief Galvez’s appointment as presidential adviser on peace process

December 6, 2018

QUEZON CITY – “Duterte is nailing the door to peace shut with appointing retiring AFP Chief Carlito Galvez Jr. as the next Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. What will a high-ranking military officer contribute to the advancement of the peace process when the same institution has been largely behind the derailment and collapse of the negotiations? Clearly, Galvez will turn OPAPP into the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Preventing Peace. War is business, and the military is adept at profiting from violating people’s rights,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay on Malacanang’s announcement of the appointment of AFP Chief Galvez as OPAPP head.

Yesterday, December 5, 2018, Malacanang announced that Duterte was considering to name retiring AFP Chief Carlito Galvez Jr. as OPAPP Secretary, following Jesus Dureza’s resignation. Dureza’s resignation came after allegations of corruption surfaced, involving the Payapa sa Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program of the OPAPP. AFP’s Galvez is set to retire this December.

Palabay recalled that former and incumbent military officials in the government, including AFP Chief Galvez, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, were among those who strongly opposed, and actively blocked, the substantial progress borne out of the peace talks. “The mercenary character of the military prevents them from understanding that peace is not merely the laying down of arms, but a condition that necessitates social justice. Peace is not “silence” as in the muting of dissent and resistance, but the achievement of societal change that lends itself to the achievement of human dignity for all. Peace, therefore, must be based on justice. The military, however, does not think like this,” she stated.

The Karapatan official also slammed the corruption in OPAPP’s PAMANA programs, claiming that these have been milking cows for the military and other agencies involved in the said project. “The PAMANA budget has been largely used for corruption, recently used to fund the parade of fake surrenderees. Not only is the money funneled to the pockets of officials after community members have been falsely paraded and listed as surrenderees in official papers, the military even has the gall to use this charade to claim that their counterinsurgency program is working. The OPAPP has been instrumental not only in furthering corruption, but also in enabling security forces to commit more violations in communities. With Galvez as new head of this office, we can expect more of the same arrangement,” Palabay added.

Galvez’ appointment will make him the seventh former AFP Chief appointed to key civilian positions in Duterte’s government. Among other former AFP Chiefs-of-Staff appointed by Duterte are National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, DSWD head Roy Cimatu and DILG head Eduardo Año.

“Duterte may think he is keeping the military in line by doling out key civilian positions to military men, but he is further endangering the Filipino people. The control of the military over communities will heighten, insidiously using civilian agencies as arsenal against Filipinos themselves. Duterte’s militarization of the bureaucracy undermines civilian supremacy. This is how the Duterte regime intends to stay in power amid widespread protest and resistance – fear and repression to be manned by a set of military men kept loyal through the awarding of political favors at our expense,” Palabay concluded.

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