TASK FORCE OCTOPUS. Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo (right) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Negros Oriental chief, Dr. Jess Cañete, commander of the newly-created Task Force Octopus, discuss salient issues in this Jan. 3, 2023 photo. The inter-agency task force aims to address criminality, peace, and security matters at a higher level. (Photo courtesy of the Capitol Public Information Office)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Former Negros Oriental provincial chief of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Dr. Jess Cañete, on Friday expressed optimism that the newly created Task Force Octopus would intensify collaboration among government agencies and organizations to fight crimes and insurgency.

“Just like an octopus has eight tentacles, this task force also has the same number of key priority areas that we will tackle as a whole, without compromising the individual mandates of each agency or organization,” Cañete said in mixed English and Cebuano.

On Tuesday, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo created the task force, tapping Canete to head the body which will compose of eight units – intelligence, anti-illegal drugs, criminality, anti-insurgency, anti-illegal gambling, terrorism, disaster response and anti-cybercrime.

While the task force is already operational, Degamo said he would issue an Executive Order next week to formalize the creation of the task force. He also said that he is still awaiting the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalalawigan for the TF Octopus’ budget.

Cañete, meanwhile, said that he has already crafted a plan to be presented to the governor and the TF Octopus members.

“While I am proposing a unified and cohesive direction for the group, I need the input and cooperation of everybody so that we will be going in one direction,” he said.

The creation of the TF Octopus is patterned after a similar body at the regional level in Central Visayas against illegal drugs and security, the One Cebu Inter-Agency Interdiction Task Force.

Cañete said he is also scheduled to meet with the Cebu task force to discuss salient features that could be replicated here. (PNA)