MANILA –The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) on Tuesday recognized President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s peace initiatives, stressing that its dividends are now being felt by the nation.
"Only in your third month in office, the dividends of peace are now being felt across the country, particularly in the Bangsamoro region, which for decades, was ravaged by armed conflict. Now, we can say that peace is finally at hand," OPAPRU Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in his message for the president's 65th birthday.
He also wished the president good health and strength for him to effectively carry out his mandate as the country's "chief unifier".
Since Marcos assumed the presidency, Galvez said the chief executive has become a beacon of hope, mutual understanding, unity, and solidarity among the Filipino people.
This was further highlighted by Marcos' inaugural speech where he made a clarion call by stating that "we all want peace in our land."
"Under your administration’s banner of unity, the national government has aggressively pushed forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process, while ensuring that no one is left behind and are all part of your peacebuilding interventions," Galvez said.
Galvez also lauded Marcos for leading the oath-taking of the newly-appointed members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) last Aug. 12.
He added that this occasion became a testament to the Chief Executive's strong and full commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process.
"It also became a shining moment for the newest members of the BTA -- some of them the sons and daughters of the two major Moro groups -- who stood side by side and committed to continue the efforts of their parents to uplift the lives of the Bangsamoro people," Galvez said.
The OPAPRU chief said the president's presence at the BTA inauguration sent a clear and strong signal that the Marcos administration is firm and determined, more than ever, to complete the implementation of all signed Bangsamoro peace agreements.
"Last September 8, Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo and six other justices of the Supreme Court visited Marawi City as part of the Judiciary's efforts 'to actively help the Bangsamoro people achieve their dream of peace'. During a meeting we had with House Speaker Ferdinand Romualdez, he threw Congress' full support behind the Bangsamoro, saying the Lower House will work closely with the region’s leadership to bring genuine peace and sustainable development in the area," Galvez said.
Under the Chief Executive's guidance, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr. hosted a meeting on Sept. 10 in Davao City with the top leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) headed by its Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim.
"The gathering became a 'meeting of the minds,' as the national and BARMM governments were able to discuss pressing issues facing the Bangsamoro, and come up with key consensus points on how to address these concerns. This meeting became an avenue for unity and solidarity in the Bangsamoro homeland," Galvez said.
On Sept. 11, the highest-ranking leaders of the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) -- Ebrahim and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari -- met in Davao City and embraced each other, putting an end to the years of separation between them and their organizations.
"More than anything else, Mr. President, the reconciliation between the MILF and MILF symbolizes the vision of your administration to unify the Moro groups and shepherd them towards genuine and long-lasting peace, reconciliation and unity," the OPAPRU chief said.
Galvez also noted that these "grizzled warriors" who have spent most of their lives on the battlefield have now made the full transition as civil servants and have dedicated themselves to ensuring peace, security, and development in the Bangsamoro.
Coinciding with the president's birthday is the 36th anniversary of the Sipat -- the peace pact forged between the national government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration -- Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA).
"This is a sign that the heavens are looking down on you, Mr. President, as you celebrate another year of outstanding service to the Filipino people. Once again, Happy Birthday, Your Excellency President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.!" Galvez added. (PNA)