Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (PNA file photo) 

MANILA – Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. has lauded President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for making the Bangsamoro peace process a "top priority."

This was after Marcos administered the oath of office to new members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Friday.

Galvez thanked Marcos for his resolve to pursue peace-building initiatives in the country.

“This occasion is how the President demonstrates his promise of and full commitment to move forward the Bangsamoro peace process. We would like to thank you, His Excellency, for making the Bangsamoro peace process a top priority of the national government,” he said in a speech delivered during the oath-taking rites.

Galvez added that the appointments of the new BTA members mirror Marcos' commitment to promoting national unity.

Marcos' peace agenda, he said, "underscores the importance of inclusivity and equal representation in governance.”

"Under your administration, under the banner of unity, we are extending the hand of reconciliation and solidarity to all those who have turned away from armed rebellion and now walk the path of peace," he said. “As you have emphasized, Mr. President, no one should be left behind in the peacebuilding and development process. Everyone should have a role to play and must benefit from the dividends of peace and economic progress.”

The ratification of Republic Act (RA) 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) through a plebiscite held in 2019 paved the way for the creation of BARMM and the establishment of the BTA.

The BTA, composed of 80 members appointed by the President, is a governing body tasked to pass crucial legislation to operationalize the BOL and exercise legislative and executive powers during the region's transition period.

Under the BOL, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shall lead the BTA, sans prejudice to the participation of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The BTA's 41 members shall be nominated by the MILF, while the remaining 39 members shall be endorsed by the Philippine government.

Galvez said the inclusion of the MILF and MNLF in the new BTA composition signifies the two Moro groups' desire to sustain peace and development in BARMM.

"It has been a long time since the MNLF and the MILF have split but now in your (Marcos) administration, they are one in pushing for sustainable peace and development in the Bangsamoro," he said.

Witnessing the BARMM’s transformation under the MILF’s leadership, Galvez expressed optimism about "a more peaceful environment, developing the area’s economic potential, and uplifting the lives of the region’s diversity."

"On our part, the OPAPRU (Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity) will continue to work closely with the BTA, as well as our local and international partners and local government officials to shepherd the completion of the implementation of all signed Bangsamoro peace agreements by 2025," he said.

In his keynote speech, Marcos acknowledged the BTA's vital role in promoting peace and development in BARMM.

He also emphasized the need to hear the concerns of the Bangsamoro people.

"I am confident because I have seen the list of the new appointees and the new members and I believe that everyone has come to be part of this process with a sincere desire to get BARMM back into the normal fold of life in the Philippines,” Marcos said. (PNA)