The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), General Andres Centino, called for a unity of efforts as he visited the troops who will form part of the Special Joint Task Force Negros.
“Kami ay nandito ngayon under instructions ng ating President na magbuo ng isang task force upang magkaroon tayo ng unity of efforts. Ang gusto ng ating president ay magkaroon ng pag-restore ng kumpyansa ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Negros Oriental sanhi na rin sa nangyaring insidente noong nakaraang linggo,” he said.
The Chief of Staff, together with Department of National Defense Senior Undersecretary Carlito Galvez Jr, flew from Manila to visit the 302nd Infantry Brigade led by BGen Leonardo Peña, and the newly deployed Light Reaction Company, in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.
The unit will join the newly-created task force along with police elements following the murder of Governor Roel Degamo and eight others on March 4.
“Tayo ngayon ay bumuo ng Task Force para pangalagaan natin ang katahimikan dito sa lalawigan ng Negros at mahuli ang mga kriminal. Ang ating pangulo ay umaasa na makakayanan natin ito,” Senior Undersecretary Galvez said.
The officials, accompanied by OIC, PNP LtGen Rhodel Sermonia, also paid respects at the late Governor’s wake at the Negros Oriental Provincial Capitol.
They were welcomed by Mayor Janice Degamo of Pamplona, who conveyed her gratitude for their commitment to pursuing the perpetrators while ensuring peace in their province.
“The response of the national government is swift, and it has given us a ray of hope that one day soon we will be able to see justice,” she said.
Meanwhile, the AFP Chief of Staff assured that the military leadership will continue to intensify and unify efforts to suppress any forms of lawless violence and to restore peace and order in Negros Island as soon as possible.
“The AFP is one with the Filipino people who desire to ensure that justice will prevail, peace and order will be restored so that we can protectively secure the communities within this area,” he said.
Catherine R. Cueto