Maj. Gen. John Bonafos called on members of the Philippine Army in Negros Oriental to exert all efforts to ensure a smooth transition in the turnover of the peace and security responsibility to provincial and local government units.
Bonafos, who is the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command in the Visayas region, visited the 302nd Infantry Brigade based in Camp Leon Kilat in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental during the weekend to discuss Internal Peace and Security Operations.
He assured that CentCom continues to support the military units in Negros Oriental and Occidental, with focus on the preparations for the eventual turnover of the peace and security responsibility to the local chief executives.
Our days are numbered, and the Army and the police will soon be under the authority of the governor, Bonafos said.
He added that, once this takes place, peace and development efforts shall be the responsibility of the governor and local chief executives, with the military and the Philippine National Police playing a support role.
He highlighted the role of the military in maintaining peace and order with the police, but also said this is not the sole responsibility of government forces. Local governments and other stakeholders also play an equally important role in peace and development, and everyone must work hand in hand to achieve lasting peace, he added.
He said he hopes that all provinces in Region 7 will normalize from the long-running insurgency problem and be free from it in the coming months.
An extension of about six months was given for Negros Oriental to neutralize the insurgency threat in the province as the military was unable to meet the target last month.
Military officials said it was not a failure, but merely a delay, in handing over of the IPSO to the civilian government.
Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, 302nd IB commander, said about half of the problem has already been addressed but additional time is needed to complete the job.
He assured that there will be continuing efforts to clear the province of the insurgency problem.*JFP
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