By Mary Judaline Partlow
DUMAGUETE CITY – The newly-appointed acting provincial police director of Negros Oriental, Colonel Rizalito Gapas, formally assumed his post Wednesday after a turnover of command ceremony at the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOrPPO).
Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, regional director of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) in Central Visayas, presided over the change of command rites at the NOrPPO headquarters at Camp Fernandez, Agan-an in Sibulan town.
Gapas was named the replacement for Col. Raul Tacaca who was officially relieved from his post last week to give way to investigations for possible lapses in relation to the series of killings that plagued the province in July.
Before relinquishing his post, Tacaca thanked the police personnel of Negros Oriental for their support and cooperation during his more than a year of stay in the province.
He also thanked Governor Roel Degamo, who was present during the turnover, for the support that the provincial government gave to the NOPPO during his watch.
Upon his assumption, Gapas, a former Pasig City Police chief, gave the assurance that he will do his best as expected of him.
Gapas said: “Back in Metro Manila, what we know is what we hear from the news.”
He said the reports of killings everywhere plus the insurgency problem which appears to have grown “apparently to an uncontrollable level” has made people in Metro Manila apprehensive about Negros Oriental.
“But I guess it is not true. I still believe in the peace-loving heart of the Negrenses and from my standpoint as the acting provincial director, I promise that I will be pursuing the thrust of the PNP with the guidance of the Chief PNP and the PNP regional director,” he said
“So we will pursue our campaign on criminality, illegal drugs, and internal cleansing,” he said.
Gapas highlighted the internal cleansing of the organization where police officers “arrest their own” and “this is to show to the people that they can still trust their police force.”
And to be able to achieve this, the police need the help of the people, he said.
While en route here, at least five police officers have already told him that he has accepted a formidable task “but I will never be disappointed with that, I will not back down on that,” Gapas said.
Aside from Degamo, a number of mayors were present during the turnover of command ceremony. (PNA)