Central Visayas problems: Insurgency, extremism, drugs

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THE communist insurgency, violent extremism and illegal drugs remain the top security problems in Central Visayas, a National Security Council (NSC) top official said.

NSC Deputy Director Vicente Agdamag described these as the “most serious” challenges for the authorities in the region, further saying Wednesday morning, Oct. 31, that the local police and military should continue their monitoring of lawless elements to maintain the peace.

He said they are also looking into lack of economic security as one of the factors that might affect the peace in the region.

Past 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, PO1 Elvis John Lucasan was wounded after the police team he was with was harassed by 15 alleged rebels believed to be members of Kilusang Rehiyonal Negros in Upper Mandi-e, Barangay Hinakpan, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

The incident happened 10 days after nine members of a farmers’ group were killed by gunmen in Sagay City, Negros Occidental Saturday, Oct. 20.

Multiple murder charges were filed on Friday, Oct. 26, against the two suspected recruiters of the National Federation of Sugar Workers and seven others for their alleged involvement in the massacre.

Law enforcers, Agdamag said, should also ensure clean elections by preventing vote buying in the midterm elections in May 2019 and monitoring narco-politicians who may use drug money in buying votes. In Cebu, Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot is the only incumbent public official tagged as drug protector by President Rodrigo Duterte, but the first-termer is not seeking reelection in the midterm polls.

The NSC official presented to journalists in a Philippine Information Agency 7 forum on Wednesday, Oct. 31, the National Security Policy and National Security Strategy under President Duterte.

In his presentation, law enforcers should go after private armed groups (PAGs) as they are a threat to internal security.

The police have intensified their campaign against loose firearms. Rey Hermita Capitan, 47, was arrested at 5:55 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, for alleged illegal manufacture of firearms on D. Durano St. in Barangay Suba, Danao City.

The suspect yielded a .38 revolver, .45 pistol and a magazine for .45 pistol. The arrest made by Danao City police and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 was based on a search warrant issued by Cebu City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Judge Soliver Peras.

Other evidence seized from Capitan were tools in making guns like grinding machine, table vise, drill press, grinding stone, grinding brass, mechanical pliers, open wrench, back wrench, white stone, steel brush, bull hammer without handle and two sand papers.

Danao City Police Chief Jaime Quiocho Jr. said they are going after loose firearms as they want to prevent possible PAGs from purchasing these for politicians.

Last February, P1.5 million worth of parts and gun-making tools were seized in Barangay Masaba, Danao City. Police Regional Office 7 operatives also seized P3 million worth of unlicensed firearms, gun parts and gun-making devices from a machine shop on F. Rallota St. in Danao City last September.

Agdamag said a clean and violent-free polls can contribute to the human and political security in Central Visayas.

Human and political security is part of the 12-point national security agenda, which also includes health; economic, infrastructure and finance; food and water; military and border; socio-cultural; environment and disaster; and energy security.

“The President’s vision for national security is to build an empowered Filipino nation living in freedom, dignity and prosperity as one community. A country where our national security interests are protected and enhanced, and a country where our national security strategy goals are achieved,” Agdamag said. (KAL)


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