OFFICIALS are condemning the death of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, who was assassinated, along with eight others, when he was meeting with his constituents on Saturday, March 4, at his residential compound in Pamplona town.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio said that he is with the people of Negros Oriental, who are mourning the loss of Governor Degamo.

"I condemn his murder as well as that of others who were just there to seek assistance," he said.

He also urged the authorities to put a stop to violent crimes such as Degamo's killing, hoping that justice will prevail.

"Our people and government officials deserve to live in peace and should be able to live free from fear," Lacson said.

He added, "On behalf of the people of Negros Occidental, I offer my prayers and sincere sympathies to Mayor Janice Degamo and family, and also to the families of those who were killed with him. May their souls rest in peace."

Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez also deplored the brutal killing of the governor, "It is with full conviction that I condemn this unacceptable and deplorable heinous crime," he said.

"We bid our sincerest condolences to Mayor Janice and the bereaved family of the late governor. I am one of those who call for swift justice—that the perpetrators be caught to face the consequences of their actions," Benitez said.

Third District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez condemned in the strongest possible terms the murder of Degamo.

"Violence has no place on the Negros Island. I join the call to bring to justice the individuals who committed this despicable act, as I pray for peace on the Negros island," he added.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos assured that justice will be given to Degamo and other victims who were killed.

He immediately ordered the deployment of all police units in Negros Oriental after the assassination, which led to the arrest and killing of some suspects.

Abalos also appealed to possible witnesses to come to the authorities so that justice would be given to Degamo.

The League of Provinces of the Philippines also deplored the murder of Degamo.

"Violence has no place in a civilized society governed by the rule of law. The impunity reared its ugly head yet again when several men in full battle gear shoot upon Degamo, killing him and wounding several people," the LPP said in a statement.

"The LPP condemns this attack on a public servant in front of his home while doing his job as a provincial governor. While no amount of words would undo the damage done, we offer them to deplore the attack on the life of Degamo, who has served well his constituents," it added.

The LPP also calls on the Department of Justice (DOJ), particularly the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring to justice those people responsible for this dastardly act.

"It was less than two weeks ago when an attempt on the life of Gov. Mamintal Alonto-Adiong, Jr., of Lanao del Sur, killing four of his security men, was perpetrated in broad daylight. We issue this statement not only to condemn such cowardly acts of violence and call for immediate investigation by law enforcement agencies of the incident, to offer LPP's heartfelt condolences for those that Degamo left behind, but to enjoin everyone to put a stop on this deplorable and despicable deed," LPP added.

Dumaguete Bishop Rev. Julito B. Cortes, in a statement, said the passing away of Degamo under violent circumstances has "shaken all of us."

"I strongly condemn this heartbreaking and senseless act of murder in Negros Oriental! How can we ever attain lasting peace if this culture of violence continues to torment us? When will this cycle of killings ever stop? We pray, then, that the perpetrators behind this bloodshed be brought to justice soon," the bishop further said.

He said, "for the rest of us in the community, let us admit that we are very much saddened and shocked. But let us remain calm and vigilant. Do not allow anger or fear to consume us. I urge all government agencies, national and local, especially the police and military, to work closely together for the speedy resolution of these cases, and thus, help us attain peace and justice in our island."

He also urged everyone to continue to pray the Oratio Imperata to End the Killings in the Province, until the resolution of these killings.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said the killing of Degamo is already alarming because it came so soon after the ambush of Governor Mamintal Adiong, not to mention the recent ambush on Mayor Ohto Montawal of Maguindanao del Sur, and the killing of Vice Mayor Rommel Almeda in Cagayan.

"I strongly condemn this dastardly act of violence. For this ambush to happen while Degamo was in the middle of attending to the people is absolutely appalling. It is sick and heartless, and the suspects should rot in jail. Heads must roll, and the PNP (Philippine National Police) must crack down on this case immediately," Zubiri said.

He also called on the PNP to strengthen its efforts against the culture of impunity that seems to be encouraging more and more of these attacks to happen across the country.

"We cannot keep on letting these go on, especially when it puts innocent civilians in the crossfire. Every single incident like this ambush puts a dent in our people’s trust in the government. It is a failure of intelligence, a failure of police visibility, and a failure of our peace and security efforts," Zubiri further said.

Vice President Sara Duterte also denounced the killing of Degamo and blamed it on the political conflict that "gripped" the region.

According to Duterte in a statement on Saturday, March 4, Degamo’s death is a tragedy for the province of Negros Oriental and tagging his murder as a "cowardly, evil act."

Authorities must start looking at the political feud that has gripped Negros Oriental and taken so many lives, not just Gov. Degamo's," said Duterte.

"The attack exposes the extent of desperation, depravity, and thirst for violence of the people who masterminded it, as they showed an absolute absence of regard for the lives of the five civilians who were among the fatalities — making it all the more appalling and unforgivable," she added.

Duterte then said that the people of Negros Oriental must collectively condemn the killing of Degamo as well as five other civilians.*