Police watchful of extortion activities-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
THE Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) is reportedly monitoring alleged extortion activities of a group believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to some establishments in the city.
Cocpo Police Director Graciano Mijares said although this is still to be verified, he assured that they will monitor this report.
“We have not received such report or even complaint from any business establishment but we are not discounting such possibility,” Mijares said, citing last month’s simultaneous attack by NPA rebels at the plantation of Del Monte Philippines and Dole-Stanfilco in Bukidnon.
Right after the attack, Jorge Madlos a.k.a, Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao, admitted that NPA rebels have already penetrated some barangays in Cagayan de Oro.
Mijares said if there is a complaint, they still have to verify it.
“Particularly the letter kay basin sakay lang sa panahon ug nagpatuo lang nga NPA. So this would still undergo intelligence validation,” Mijares told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
He said authorities can identify whether an extortion letter is really from the NPA or from a group whose modus is to extort from possible targets.
Police Major Lemuel Gonda, chief of Cocpo’s operations division, also said they have not received any information on alleged extortion activities.
“So far, unconfirmed pa man kana nga report. However, we will not take it for granted and we will look into it,” Gonda said.
Ralph Paguio, former president of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Tuesday he has no information on these alleged extortion activities by suspected NPA members.
But Paguio said the recent atrocities committed by NPA rebels in Bukidnon and the rise of criminality in the city will affect all their efforts of uplifting the economic condition of Cagayan de Oro.
“The police must exert extra effort to prevent, contain and solve the incidents so as not to further disrupt business activities in the city. We are saddened with this spate of events,” he said.
Paguio said such condition will “damage whatever goodwill they have generated.”
Related to this, the business sector will be holding a security forum today that will give updates on the peace and order situation in the city.
Oro Chamber president Efren Uy encouraged the business community to attend the forum and be informed on the status of armed robberies, murders and rebel infiltrations in the city.
In just more than two months, at least 11 killings have so far been recorded in Cagayan de Oro, which sparked protests from students and staff of Xavier University as they held noise barrage outside the campus every 12:00noon.
In a statement, the XU administrators, faculty, staff, parents, students and alumni of XU expressed their concern on the rising criminalities in the city and its impact to the city’s economic productivity and development.
“We call on the local leaders to convene the City’s Peace and Order Council and immediately respond to the issue of public safety and security,” the statement read.
The university also appeals for public vigilance and called on the people to be watchful of their safety.
The City Council has earlier urged Mijares to meet with the legislators to shed light on the spate of killings and robberies.
Even with this, Cocpo has reportedly strengthened its police visibility in different areas of the city, including business establishments and other convergence areas, especially in the coming observance of Holy Week.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 13, 2013.