BICOL police regional director Chief Superintendent Arnel Escobal on Saturday, November 24, welcomed the deployment of additional troops in the region to further beef up the campaign against all forms of criminality and promote peace and order.
“Additional troops will boost the PNPs [Philippine National Police] campaign against criminality and lawless elements at the same time to prevent the occurrence of atrocities in the region,” he said.
“This will also help PRO5's [Police Regional Office-Bicol Region] preparation for the 2019 midterm elections security coverage,” he added.
Escobal, however, assured the public that amid the strict and firm implementation of the laws, their “high” respect for human rights will remain on top.
Following the orders of President Rodrigo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed on Thursday, November 22, the Memorandum Order (MO) No. 32 which instructs the Armed Forces of the Philippiness (AFP) and PNP to deploy supplementary state forces in Samar, Negros Occidental and Oriental and Bicol Region due to “sporadic acts of violence” allegedly committed by lawless groups.
MO No. 32 also reinforces the guidelines of the AFP and the PNP in the implementation of the national emergency which was declared through Proclamation No. 55 in 2016 due to lawless violence in Mindanao committed by terror groups.
According to Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. among the particular violent incidents which prompted the palace to issue such order were the ambush of soldiers providing relief to typhoon victims in Northern Samar, the armed attack at the police station in Lapinig, ambush attack against the 63rd Infantry Battalion in Matuguinao, and assault on the former mayor of San Jose de Buan in Samar.
He also cited the killing of nine farmers in Sagay in Negros Occidental in which the AFP and PNP earlier said was committed by the leftist group in order to discredit the government.
Earlier, PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. said the Director for Operations and the concerned Directorates for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) and PRO have been alerted to assume an active defense posture while stepping-up proactive operations to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror, and prevent these from spreading to other areas.
“Employing the framework of the AFP-PNP Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) in the national and regional levels, the PNP will realign deployment of forces according to intelligence assessment and threat evaluation with the underlying objective to thwart any attempt by domestic threat groups to commit acts of violence,” he said.
“Regional Directors in these areas are given discretionary authority to raise alert conditions and redeploy forces as necessary,” he added.
The AFP also expressed support in the MO No. 32 although they are yet to determine how many military personnel will be deployed in the area. (SunStar Philippines)