Bacolod City – An administrative order was issued by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to create a Special Task Force to maintain peace and order, and suppress threats to safety and security in Negros Island.
“There is a need to create a Special Task Force to prevent the spread and escalation of violence elsewhere in the Philippines, and to preserve peace and order in Negros Island, with due regard to the fundamental civil and political rights of the people,” President Marcos Jr, in his issued AO 6, said.
The creation of a special task force came almost a month after Gov. Roel Degamo and eight others were killed in armed attack in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, which also led to the injuries of 17 others.
The Special Task Force is headed by the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, with secretaries of Justice and Defense departments as vice chairpersons, and heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Police and director of the National Bureau of Investigation as the task force commanders.
“Similar violent incidents have occurred in the past, and at present, threats to safety and security occur across different sectors and affect various stakeholders in Negros Island,” the AO said.
There are now six Army battalions deployed in Negros Island, following the return of 47th Infantry Battalion from Bohol.
Under AO 6, the Department of Social Welfare and Development is tasked to extend emergency relief assistance to the families of the victims, while the Department of Health shall provide psychological rehabilitation to affected individuals.
The task force will have the power to coordinate and rationalize the efforts of concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to “ensure a whole-of-government approach in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and punishment of violence in Negros Island.”
It is further tasked to intensify the campaign against private armed groups and loose firearms. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)