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Elite AFP troops deployed in Negros Island

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Troopers of the highly trained Light Reaction Company, a counter terrorist unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, stationed at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.* AFP photo

A 50-man Light Reaction Company (LRC), the elite and highly-trained troops of the AFP Special Operations Command, have been deployed in Negros to monitor the manhunt for the remaining suspects in the assassination of former Negros Oriental Gog. Roel Degamo.

This was confirmed yesterday by Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez and AFP chief of staff Gen. Andres Centino during a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.

Galvez said the 50-man strong specially trained LRC were involved in the Battle of Marawi.

Former Army Sgt. Joven Javier, one of the four arrested suspects involved in the assassination of Gov. Degamo, used to be a member of the Light Reaction Company of Special Operations Command. The other three were also former Army soldiers.

In the same press briefing, Gen. Centino also announced the creation of a Joint Task Force, composed of two Army brigades and six Army battalions, to implement the orders issued by President Ferdinand Marcos, to step up the joint military and police operations against the suspects and prevent escalation of lawless violence in Negros Oriental.

Centino designated Brig. Gen. Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division commander, as JTF head, to be assisted by Brig. Leonardo Peña, and Col. Odie Edralin, commanders of the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades, respectively.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of National Defense (DND) to “suppress criminal activities and impunity” in the entire Negros Island, to give justice to the families of Gov. Degamo and eight others, and help restore normalcy in Negros Oriental.

The arrest of four suspects in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, also yielded high powered firearms, explosives and anti-tank rocket propelled grenades.

On the other hand, the Police Regional Office 7 relieved and replaced all policemen assigned to Bayawan City, Santa Catalina and Valencia Police Stations, with police officers from Cebu.*

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