NOW considered “insurgency-free,” Negros Occidental was declared “peaceful and ready for further development” in rites held in Bacolod City Wednesday led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., with Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang Jr.

“This is an assurance of a brighter and peaceful future," said Marañon during the ceremony held at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center.

Resolution No. 2015-09, adopted unanimously by the Provincial Peace and Order Council, stated that Negros Occidental is now considered “insurgency-free” because the peace and order situation here has significantly improved.”

It added that “security measures and elements are effectively functioning, and that its people have become aware and resilient, accepting their shared responsibility against threats and risks to public order and safety.”

The resolution also stated that “the occurrence of violence, criminality, insurgency and subversion has become negligible and isolated, thus an enabling environment has been initiated in the province for the effective delivery of basic services, promotion of the general welfare, protection of the environment, and eventually for a sustainable growth and development.”

This event is historic because the whole province, including Bacolod City, is declared peaceful giving way for more development, Marañon said.

He recalled that during his inaugural speeches in 2010 and in 2013, he has emphasized the importance of having lasting peace to ensure the success of the 11- point agenda of his administration.

The governor has also been reiterating his invitation to the rebels to come down and join the mainstream society and fight poverty together with the provincial government.

Marañon also acknowledged the efforts of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police for the peace in Negros Occidental.

For his part, Catapang said that by winning the peace, the entire Negros will also gain economic progress.

He also acknowledged the timing of achieving the total peace of the province with creation of the Negros Island Region, which is now in the best position to be the best region in the Visayas.

Attractive to investors

Meanwhile, Frank Carbon, president of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), lauded the declaration of Negros Occidental as “peaceful and ready for further development.”

“With the approval of the Sugarcane Act followed by the creation of Negros Island Region (NIR), and now the said declaration, all of these contribute to the attractiveness of the island to mega investors,” he said, adding that “the best is yet to come for Negros.”

NIR Command

Moreover, Catapang said that Armed Forces of the Philippines NIR Command will be created within the year.

“There will be a Negros Island Command. We will constitute our forces to let them know that the force could come around anywhere in the Negros Island Region," he said.

Marañon said the province will provide an area for the camp of the NIR Command within the fifth district of the province.

“We will discuss it with the governor and the commanders here. It will be an integrated approach together with other government agencies and units. It will be an inter-agency peace and order committee or organization to include all armed services. We will put up new camps in the middle of the two provinces to cover both sides," Catapang said.(TDE/EPN)