Negros Oriental bounces back from political unrest and security challenges

As the year 2023 draws to a close, Negros Oriental is displaying signs of recovery from a series of events that shook the province after the assassination of Governor Roel Degamo in March.

Edward Du, President of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), is optimistic about the province’s current “political stability,” noting a significant improvement in peace and order that was previously marred by violence.

These positive developments set the stage for a promising 2024, despite the challenges faced by the province this year, Du highlighted.

“The political climate in Negros Oriental has now stabilized, and peace and order are much better, with the province being recognized by the police as the 4th peaceful province in the Philippines,” noted Du.

He added that business is thriving, the economy is relatively stable, tourist arrivals are increasing, and there is anticipation of more investors in the coming year.

Political Turmoil

Negros Oriental experienced an abrupt shift in its typically peaceful atmosphere after the violent incident in Pamplona town on March 4, where Governor Degamo was assassinated while distributing government aid at his residence. The province came under the spotlight as government security forces worked to prevent further violence, considered politically motivated, against Degamo.

Former Congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr. was identified as the alleged mastermind, leading to his expulsion from Congress and subsequent murder charges filed against him. Teves sought political asylum in East Timor, declared as a terrorist by the Anti-Terrorist Council.

Threat to Security, Peace, and Order

In response to the security threat, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) established Joint Task Force Negros. Stricter security measures, including checkpoints and patrol operations, were implemented to maintain public safety.

As the province prepared for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) assessed safety concerns. House Speaker Martin Romualdez served as caretaker for the 3rd congressional district, and a special election was scheduled but later canceled.

Three Governors in a Year

Following Governor Degamo’s death, Negros Oriental witnessed an unprecedented situation with three governors within a year. Carlo Jorge Reyes succeeded Degamo, followed by Manuel L. Sagarbarria after Reyes’s passing.

Sagarbarria emphasized unity and initiated programs for reconciliation and recovery, focusing on healthcare, reviving cultural festivals, and promoting tourism.

Unity is the Way Forward

Governor Sagarbarria called for unity among political sectors, announcing a status quo at the Capitol, and stressed collaboration for the province’s recovery. Despite some changes, he emphasized working closely with officials for mutual progress.

As Negros Oriental moves towards a more peaceful environment, Police Provincial Director Col. Ronan Claravall acknowledged the public’s crucial role in supporting and collaborating with security forces. The Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) achieved notable success, ranking as the second-best police provincial office in Central Visayas and aiming for top honors nationally.

Claravall attributed the province’s reduced crime volume to the community’s cooperation and assured that the police are capable of sustaining the current peace and order situation.

Source: PNA


Tell it to the World
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x