The sturdy and valiant military officer of the second largest military camp in the country who led the 153 days battle in Marawi City against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inspired Maute group became emotional as he received the peace trophy that was awarded to him by the interreligious group last Sunday during the fourth day of the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration.
“We thank you for this award given to us, we would like to dedicate this award to the 165 soldiers who died in Marawi City,” emotionally said LtGen Carlito G. Galvez, Jr the commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom).
General Galvez is one of the five peaceweaver awardees for this year which is being awarded to individuals and groups by the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) and Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) who had significant contributions to peace in the community. The award is being given during the Mindanao Week of Peace Celebration. For this year it carries the theme “Sustaining the Journey for Peace” which runs from November 30 to December 6.
“I remember the 153 days we fought in Marawi, because of our love to the people of Marawi and to solve the ongoing crisis we try to subdue the enemy,” he added.
Gen. Galvez is the 9th Commander of Wesmincom. He is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985. He has been with the military service for more than 34 years with all his command billets spent in conflict-affected areas of mainland Mindanao, Basilan and Sulu.
He is an airborne, Intelligence and Scout Ranger qualified. His fields of specialty include the following: Combat and Intelligence Operations; Leadership Development, Counter-terrorism, Humanitarian Assistance, Strategic Management, Systems Dynamics Modeling, and Peace-building, Negotiation, and Mediation (“Rido” Settlement).
“As an awardee of this peace weaver award I will always commit myself towards peace and the solution of the Bangsamoro quest,” Gen. Galvez said.
Dr. Grace J. Rebollos, Vice President of PAZ said in her welcome remarks that everybody should take pride in bringing our thoughts of weaving to the context of building peace on our homeland of Mindanao. “We think of Marawi, Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Maguindanao and the many places that long for peace.” She said.
“In Mindanao, we constantly struggle to build our lives together in dreams that outlive us, in hopes of a dawn where our people awaken to happy days of calm to jubilant celebrations of peace and progress,” she added.
For Fr. Angel C. Calvo the lead convener of the ISP said the celebration of the peaceweaver awards has become a tradition among us as part of the celebration in the city. “Convinced as we are that peace is that common aspiration of our people and at the same time a common task and responsibility of all members of the community,”
The other four awardees were: Dr. Aboulkhair S. Tarason from Basilan who is the regional mufti of the Regional Darul Ifta of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); Prof. Noor M. Saada a peace builder; Mrs. Juanita M. Cabugatan a woman and community leader and Mr. Nulhamdo P. Cegales an Indigenous Peoples (IP) leader. (Albert F. Arcilla/Peace Advocates Zamboanga)