By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The provincial government of Negros Occidental created a task force last Aug 27, 2019 to address insurgency in the province.
The Negros Occidental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOCTF-ELCAC) was officially launched during the meeting of the Joint Provincial Development Council (JPDC) and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) chaired by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson held at the Negros First Residences here last Tuesday.
Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) said the creation of the task force was based on a resolution unanimously approved by the members of the JPDC and PPOC.
“It is the first collective step from us, as part of the government, to really address the root causes fueling the insurgency problem in the province,” Arevalo said.
However, he noted that the succeeding steps are the bigger ones and are more important.
On Aug 22, the creation of the task force was already discussed during the conduct of a planning workshop with the national and local agencies, city and municipality mayors of the said province, local planning and development officers, and peace and order chairpersons.
It is similar to the task force created by Negros Oriental, in the height of the spate of killings last month, claiming almost 20 lives, including the ambush slay of four policemen.
The NOCTF-ELCAC is based on Executive Order No. 70 promulgated by President Rodrigo Duterte which institutionalizes a whole-of-nation approach in addressing the root causes of insurgency to ensure inclusive and sustainable peace.
Also present in the launching were Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo); and Dr. Ma. Lina Sanogal, provincial planning and development coordinator.