By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo announced on Monday the creation of Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting at the old Sangguniang session hall in Dumaguete City.
The task force is an implementation of Executive Order Number 70-2018 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict NTF-ELCAC).
EO70-2018 is a holistic solution employing whole-of-nation approach in addressing the root causes of insurgency to ensure peace and security in the province, following series of killings in the province last week.
Of the 14 shooting incidents, three were confirmed by the police to be perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA). It includes the killing of a village chief in Guihulngan City, slay of a rebel returnee and peasant leader in Zamboanguita town, and the killing of a man and his child in Sta. Catalina town last week.
During the meeting with the local authorities, Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) of the Philippine Army; and Brigadier General Ignacio Madriaga, commander of 302nd IBde expressed their confidence that the newly created task force will boost the campaign against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) and prevent further killings in the province.
Both army commanders discussed yesterday with the governor the security situation, in terms of insurgency in the said province.
The areas of operations of the two army brigades were earlier adjusted to further improve their operational effectiveness based on the geographical and threat considerations.
The 303rd IBde now covers the first to fifth districts of Negros Occidental, and first district of Negros Oriental while the 302nd IBde took over the responsibility of the sixth district of Negros Occidental, and second and third districts of Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, some personnel of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) -7 engaged in a clash with unidentified armed men believed to be NPA members at Sitio Talaptapan, Barangay Nalundan, Bindoy town.
Based on the initial report, the policemen were conducting combat operations in the area around 9:20 a.m. when they encountered an undetermined number of armed men. No casualties were reported.
The recent clash happened 11 days after the ambush slay of four RMFB-7 members at Barangay Mabato, Ayungon town on July 18.