Slain ex-mayor strong ally of gov’t in peace process: Galvez

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Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., has condemned the shooting of former Lamitan City Mayor Rosita Furigay, saying she was a "strong ally" in pushing for the peace process in Basilan province.

In a statement Tuesday, Galvez said a culture of violence has no room in the pursuit of achieving long-lasting and genuine peace in the country.

“Former Mayor Furigay was also instrumental in implementing programs and projects, which have transformed Lamitan from a once conflict-ridden area, into a showcase of economic progress and development. She will always be remembered,” he said, sending his condolences to Furigay's kin.

Furigay was killed in a shooting incident during the School of Law graduation day at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City on Sunday. Also killed were her staff Victor Capistrano and Jeneven Bandiala, a security personnel at the university.

Furigay's daughter was also wounded in the attack.

“I am deeply saddened and angered by this brazen act of violence that happened at the grounds of the Ateneo de Manila University as parents and law students were preparing for the graduation ceremony,” he said.

Galvez paid tribute to Furigay who he had known for more than a decade.

“While I was a battalion and brigade commander in Basilan and eventually headed the Western Mindanao Command, and now as the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, I have witnessed how the former mayor spearheaded change and development efforts in Lamitan City,” he said.

Galvez cited the slain mayor’s initiatives to foster interfaith dialogue, respect, and mutual understanding among tri-people in Lamitan, saying she had contributed to the overall success of the peace process in Mindanao.

“Mayor Rose is known for her integrity and credibility on good governance, that is why it is impossible to believe in those allegations and innuendos thrown against the late mayor and her family,” he added.

Galvez said the incident is another manifestation that the “culture of violence has once again reared its ugly head” and must not be allowed to happen again.

“Violence has no place in a peaceful and democratic society as we move towards our collective goal of achieving a just and lasting peace throughout the country,” he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency