Police, military to conduct operations vs private goons-A A +A
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY -- Police and military in Eastern Visayas region will continue to conduct aggressive operations against suspected members of private armed groups (PAGs) to ensure peaceful conducts of the 2013 elections.
Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria, Philippine National Police (PNP) regional director, said that police is gaining grounds in dismantling PAGs in the region and hopes the coming elections will be peaceful.
During the 2010 elections, the police tried to neutralize some PAGs in Eastern Visayas, particularly in Samar where intense political rivalries have spawned partisan armed groups.
The PNP reported that three out of eight PAGs in Samar were eventually neutralized.
The PNP defines PAG as an organized armed group of two or more persons with legally issued or illegally possessed firearms for purposes of sowing fear and intimidation for the advancement and protection of vested economic and/or political interest of public official or private individual.
For their part, the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City assured to support the regional police in getting more partisan armed groups, wanted persons, and loose firearms as part of their preparation to curb criminality and related killings connected to the forthcoming elections.
Colonel Romeo Labador, commanding officer of the 801st Brigade, said the military has also stepped up intelligence gathering effort to identify and neutralize persons employing PAGs particularly in Samar Island.
“We are currently validating reports of existing armed groups especially those operating in areas previously listed as election areas of immediate concern during the past elections,” Labador said.
In the 2010 elections, the areas declared as hotspots by the Commission on Elections were Calbayog City, Matuguinao, San Jorge, San Jose de Buan, Santa Margarita and Tarangnan in Samar; Can-avid, Eastern Samar; Lope de Vega and Silvino Lubos in Northern Samar.
Labador added the military has given special concern for the entire Samar Island in previous elections because there were identified PAGs responsible for the politically motivated killings. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)