By: Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Negros Oriental should now strive to become an insurgency free province.
Regional Peace and Order -7 Chairman Edgardo Chatto posed this challenge to Negrensess after local leaders signed the joint resolution declaring the province as “Conflict Manageable and Development Ready” today.
According to the Philippine Army, over the years, the number of insurgent activities has reduced to a manageable level that it no longer poses a serious threat to the development projects in hinterland areas in the province.
“We are now a conflict manageable area and ready for development, we must graduate into an insurgency-free Negros Oriental,” Chatto said.
Chatto believes that this can be achieved if stakeholders will do a collective effort in sustaining peace and development efforts in Negros Oriental, stressing that peace is everybody’s responsibility.
“Government must work with the empowered people, business sector, civil society as well as our non-government organizations and to the different segments of our community. What is essential is the presence of our law enforcers, they are with us all along in this journey providing us a feeling of strength and security,” Chatto said.
Chatto, who is also the governor of Bohol, believes that with this declaration, Negros Oriental is on its way in achieving true peace and development.
Chatto was one of the government officials who witnessed the signing ceremony of the joint resolution today.
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo signed the resolution together with Chatto, PCSupt. Danilo Constantino, Regional Director of the Philippine National (PNP) Police-7, MGen. Aurelio Baladad, Commander, 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, PCSupt. Catalino Rodriguez, DIPO Visayas, and MGen. John S. Bonafos, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (AFP-CENTCOM).
Philippine Army 302ndInfantry Brigade Commander BGen. Francisco Patrimonio and Army Commander MGen. Hernando Irriberi also graced the event.
In his speech during the event, Gov. Degamo said this is a welcome development in his administration.
With this status, the province is now open to more economic and business opportunities, bringing more benefits to people, he said.
He also cited the combined efforts of law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in bringing services to hinterland areas in the province which made the people put their trust in the government.
“It is noteworthy to mention the convergence of government efforts such as the AFP’s Bayanihan project and other civic-military activities in conflict areas including the peace talks and our very own efforts in bringing government services to the doorstep of our constituents like the medical missions, have gradually earned the respect and won the hearts of the communities,” Gov. Degamo said.
Another positive result of these efforts is that the New People’s Army (NPA) combatants have returned to the folds of the law.
In return, these former rebels received livelihood incentives to help them start a new life.
Now that Negros Oriental is declared conflict manageable and development ready, Chatto said this can contribute to growth of the whole region of Central Visayas.
“We also share the same hopes for a developed region as Region 7 takes command lead in the development of the nation as the fastest growing region in the country. We play a pivotal role in agriculture, tourism and in information technology as we also lead in greater leaps of progress,” Chatto said.
DND Sec. Voltaire Gazmin also conveyed his congratulatory message to Negrenses in this significant moment.
“This is a victory for our “bayanihan” spirit of oneness and togetherness as we engage in the whole of nation approach in the defense and preservation to our social ideals in order to attain lasting peace for our nation and people,” Sec. Gazmin said.
He also congratulated Gov. Degamo, AFP, PNP, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders who pooled their talents, resources, and capabilities to diminish the insurgency and lawlessness in Negros Oriental.
“This is a historic occasion aptly manifested by the unity of goal and direction by both our civil and military authorities to address insurgency in this province and in the whole Region 7,” Gazmin added.
Gazmin noted that event has presented another model of collaboration, cooperation, support and unity between local and national government agencies, the police and the military and civil society organization. (rmn/RAL/PIA7-NEGOR)