Press Releases

Statement on the appointment of Secretary Galvez as Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity

June 26th, 2023

By Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda

I congratulate Secretary Charlie Galvez for his reappointment as Presidential Adviser for Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity.

First, the people of Albay owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude for fast-tracking our request for initial COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers during the early months of the pandemic. That initial infusion was crucial to ensuring that our hospitals were able to accommodate cases during surges. It also saved lives and prevented a collapse of our local health care system.

When we submitted to him a comprehensive plan for how we intended to use the vaccines, he immediately gave his green light for a batch of vaccines to support our healthcare response. That helped make Albay one of the safest provinces to be in the country during the pandemic.

Secretary Galvez should also receive great credit for keeping the peace between the government and groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, who, despite tenuous events in recent history, have remained committed to the task of peaceful governance with the national government. The United Nations recognized the Secretary for successes in this difficult but essential task.

Secretary Galvez will be helming the OPAPP again with PBBM’s mandate that the military focus on promoting the peace process. As the tone of the President’s defense policy begins to focus on addressing external threats, Secretary Galvez’s role in keeping internal peace will be crucial to ensuring that we can devote resources to modernizing our national defense capabilities, instead of pursuing costly wars of attrition with rebel groups.

The appointment of Secretary Galvez comes at a crucial time for the OPAPP, when it will be defending its budget before Congress.

I fully support his department’s programs, especially the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program, which crucially involves peace-affirming socioeconomic projects. A NEDA study found that PAMANA projects led to an increase of up to 20% in business registrations and economic activity in covered areas. I also look forward to working with him on improving the mechanisms for these projects, given the gaps pointed out by the same study.

Considering the far-reaching success of the program in addressing the root causes of conflict, I urge President Marcos that, with a permanent OPAPP head, his government devote increased funding for these programs that reach the most vulnerable communities.

It complements the Barangay Development Program of the NTF-ELCAC, which is a welcome incentive for peace (for rebel-cleared barangays), but leaves room for areas still affected by conflict, and which are in direr need of socioeconomic interventions.

I urge my colleagues who are in the Commission on Appointments to confirm Secretary Galvez in time for the budget hearings, which should take place some weeks after the SONA.

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