Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo has called on law enforcement agencies to further strengthen security measures particularly along the coast lines not only in the Province of Negros Oriental but in the entire Visayas region.
The governor issued the statement during the emergency meeting of the joint security task groups Leon Kilat and Deter to discuss pressing concerns on law and order and internal peace and security in the Visayas region.
This is in response to reports reaching his office regarding the reported presence of undesirable elements in various parts of the provinces in the Visayas region allegedly planning to conduct criminal activities particularly kidnapping.
The meeting was personally presided over by Governor Degamo and was attended by representatives coming from the different law enforcement agencies from the various branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard, the civilian authorities and intelligence community, among others.
While authorities have earlier allayed fears of possible attacks from criminal elements and ensured the maintenance of peace and order in the Visayas region, Governor Degamo urged them not to let their guards down in the face of the reported movements of the criminal elements from Mindanao.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines or AFP, through the AFP Central Command, had assured the public that there is nothing to worry about at present since the authorities are working hard to prevent criminal elements from doing their criminal acts in the region.
They are continuously monitoring and validating reports regarding the presence of these elements in the Visayas region. In fact, during the meeting, authorities received information that an encounter between the 47th IB and an armed group ensued in Inabanga, Bohol.
Governor Degamo said there is a need to further strengthen security measures amid all these reports since the Visayas region has gained back its momentum in terms of tourist influx. He added one single incident of criminal act against tourists will certainly cause the tourism industry in the region to collapse.
“This is what I do not want to happen under my watch as governor of the province and as chair of both the provincial and regional peace and order councils,” the governor said.
He then proceeded to task law enforcement agencies to tap force multipliers such as the bantay dagats, the tanods, the barangay officials, and even the habal-habal drivers and the local government units to be part of the target hardening measures to address the threat.
The Task Groups
The Joint Task Groups Leon Kilat and Deter are now working hand in hand in order to avert any threat on the peace and order situation not only in Negros Oriental but in the Visayas region.
Leon kilat is the creation of the provincial government under the peace and order council and is composed of the different law enforcement and civilian authorities while Deter is the creation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines focusing on anti-terrorism and anti-kidnapping activities.
The two task groups have combined efforts after the workshop held early this year which was called upon following reports of movements of criminal elements from Mindanao to unknown point of destinations possibly in the Visayas area.
Governor Degamo has appointed Mr. Bimbo Miraflor as the executive director of Task Force Leon Kilat and has also provided a space for JTG Deter in one of the provincial government-owned facilities. (AYS)
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