Visit To Negros Island

14 March 2006

As I promised to my newly deployed troops in Negros Island to visit them once they are settled during their Send-Off Ceremony in Jamindan, Capiz two weeks ago, I fulfilled that promise by visiting my troops in Sagay City, located in the Northern part of Negros Island. The objective of my visit was to see to it that the location of my troops in relation to the reported location/s of the insurgents in the island is responsive to our operational mision in the area. I would like that the Insurgent’s Guerrilla Front in the said area be dismantled in three month’s time, together with the other Guerilla Fronts in the island of Negros.

From Iloilo City, I took the early Weesam fastcraft ride to Bacolod City which took us 1 hour and 20 minutes. From the Bacolod City Port, my Commander for the Island of Negros and his staff brought me to Sagay City by land vehicles. It took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the temporary headquarters of my newly deployed battalion. I talked to the officers and men who were left in the camp as most of the personnel are in a combat operation to find, fix, fight and finish the armed insurgents in the area for the past three days. The Commander of the Battalion briefed me as to the progress of the combat operations being conducted and he assured me that the soldiers are well-supported and raring to engage the enemy in combat encounter. It is a matter of days before these armed insurgentsn will be “neutralized” in the mountains or they will be pressured or forced to surrender and bring them to the “mainstream” of the society. I was satisfied with the “map briefing” (briefing infront of our operational map in the area) of my Battalion Commander and I have a strong conviction that his mission will be accomplished with the support of the local government and the general populace in the area.

From Sagay City, I went to the wake of the late Governor Joseph Maranon, Governor of Negros Occidental, who died on the evening before my arrival in Negros at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel. The Governor died due to kidney cancer which made him bed-ridden since the first week of January of this year. He died at 72 years old. We had at least 3-4 occassions to meet and talk about his support and cooperation to my troops to get rid of the insurgents in his province. I really salute his 100% commitment and dedication to solve poverty and other problems in his province. Lately, he was instrumental in helping and allowing the Philippine Air Force find its camp and landing area for its helicopters near the newly constructed Bacolod-Silay Airport.

After lunch, I met some of the Municipal Mayors and Vice-Mayors of municipalities being “visited” by the insurgents in the province of Negros Occidental. I heard their reports, got some vital information, and their “feedback” on the actuations of my officers and men assigned in their respective municipalities. It was a very fruitful meeting where we were able to solve some of their “concerns” and also inform them of the fast pace of our operations in the island in order to, once and for all, get rid of the armed insurgents and eventually, bring them back to the society and live with their families as productive residents of their respective municipalities.

Before the end of the day, I was on the last Weesam fastcraft trip back to Iloilo City.

I did not have any running workout for the day. I plan to have my “speed run” at the Iloilo Sports Complex Oval Track early tomorrow morning.

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