Quest for peace; Lacson sees ‘good’ investments as NegOcc recommended for SIPS

Posted by watchmen
March 7, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson expressed optimism following the Provincial Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee’s (JPSCC) recommendation to declare the province under the state of Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS).

In an interview yesterday, Lacson said the recommendation will boost investors’ confidence in Negros Occidental, knowing the fact that the province is now peaceful and orderly.

The joint recommendation by JPSCC, composed of the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard, was made at Camp Alfredo Montelibano, Sr. in Bacolod City last Tuesday, March 5.

Lacson said they have always wanted to reach a stable peace and order situation.

He further stated that the recommendation is based on the fact that “if not all rebel fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army [NPA] have been dismantled, at least the government they set up in the province has been dismantled.”

Major Mervin Rosal, 303rd Infantry Brigade (303IBde) civil military operations chief, said under the SIPS stage, the provinces are categorized as cleared, unaffected and relatively peaceful.

Rosal said the local government units and police acknowledge and accept that only law enforcement operations are needed, and will signify that the province has already normalized.

Three NPA guerrilla fronts in northern and central Negros in 303IBde’s areas of operations, and two other guerrilla fronts in southern Negros, under 302IBde’s jurisdiction, have been declared as dismantled by the Philippine Army.

The 303IBde believes that there are only 33 active NPA combatants left in the province, after the rebel group suffered massive setbacks and defeats over the past few months.

Meanwhile, Major General Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) commander, said JPSCC’s recommendation is an “important document that will jumpstart the declaration of SIPS in Negros Island.”

“This marks a milestone in the quest for peace. As we aim to declare Negros in a state of SIPS, the support, collaboration and commitment of government agencies and stakeholders reflect a significant initiative towards ensuring peace and stability,” Sison said.

The joint declaration by the JPSCC would be forwarded to the Negros Occidental Provincial Peace and Order Council, and the Regional Peace and Order Council in Western Visayas for concurrence.

Despite the declaration, outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines-Visayas Command chief, Lt. General Benedict Arevalo said the Philippine Army will remain in Negros Occidental, although he leaves the discretion to the 3ID for its realignment./DGB, WDJ


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