PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said on Thursday, August 1, that he gave the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) about a week to submit an initial feedback on the spate of killings in the province of Negros Oriental.
"Nagbigay ako ng direktiba to spearhead the investigation there. I gave them a minimum of at least a week to give initial feedback. Kung di ako magkamali, August 5," Albayalde said.
"Di ko ine-expect na totally maano nila, ma-solve nila 'yung mga kaso but at least on the true picture on what is reason (for) the spate of killings," he added.
Albayalde ordered the DIDM to spearhead the investigation on Monday, July 29.
Some 17 people have been killed in Negros Oriental since July 18, including the four policemen who were allegedly executed by the communist New People's Army.
The others were alleged supporters and members of the New People’s Army.
Albayalde said security forces deployed to Negros Island found implementation of their security operations challenging because of its terrain.
“Well ang troops naman natin dito meron together with the AFP and remember kasi yung Negros kung tingnan mo ‘yung geography talagang maraming bundok. ‘Yung pangyayari sa lugar they don't happen in one area or one place. Marami kasi yun. Hindi lang sa isang munisipyo at hindi lang sa city proper," he said.
"Meron kasing mountainous or farflung areas gaya ‘yung principal na napatay napakalayo nun. Talagang meron naman presence, very challenging ‘yung geography nung Negros Island,” he added.
Albayalde said that since the issuance of Memorandum Order 32 by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on November 22, 2018, he has ordered police units on the island to strengthen operations including the conduct of checkpoints and anti-loose firearms campaign.
The police have also been instructed to beef up visibility on the streets.
Memorandum Order 32 cited Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, the two provinces that make up Negros Island, among the areas where additional troops should be sent in order to suppress and prevent lawless violence.
On Monday, July 29, Albayalde ordered the deployment of over 300 additional Special Action Forces (SAF) men to Negros.
Albayalde maintained that they have not discussed the possible declaration of martial law on Negros Island because of the killings.
"Wala namang indications at wala namang sinasabi ang ating Presidente on that. Walang sinasabi ang Pangulo na ganoon," he said. (SunStar Philippines)