ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command chief Lieutenant General Noel Clement said on Sunday, August 4, he does not see the need for Negros Oriental to be placed under martial law despite the spate of killings there.
"From our level dito I dont think at this time we need to implement martial law dito, manageable pa naman 'yung (situation). Depende kay presidente kung gusto nyang talagang mag-impose ng martial law dito but right now we're not inclined actually to recommend martial law," he said.
"Kasi when you talk about martial law there should be rebellion or any insurrection, so I think at this time that is not happening there, may mga incidents lang talaga ng patayan but its within manageable level to the point hindi naman sya widespread na boung Negros Oriental nagkakaroon ng patayan," he said.
Clememt said Malacañang has yet to order them to conduct assesment on the situation in the said province but they are prepared should they be instructed to do so.
From July 18 to 28, the PNP said 21 people were killed in Negros Oriental. It includes the four policemen who was killed allegedly by the members of the communist rebels.
The other victims were allegedly supporters of the New People’s Army which led for the leftist group to accuse the police and military of staging the killings.
Clement, however, expressed strong belief that the communist rebels were the one who staged the killings.
"Ang indicators is they are the ones that actually have a lot to gain pagka may mga pinapatay dyan, kasi ang gagawin nila dyan, file kaagad ng human rights violation and bring it in the international comunity para tumaas 'yung funding nila, so yun ang purpose actually nila dyan, to highlight and internationalize itong insurgency problem para patuloy 'yung mga extortion activities nila and at the same time get funding from foreign NGOs (Non-government organizations), " he said.
The officials said, together with the PNP and the local government units, they are conducting a "holistic approach" in solving insurgency in the region in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Clement said security forces in the said province have been augmented.
"We have brought the 302nd brigade (from Bohol) to Negros, nakakuha na rin kami ng additional, 'yung dating nasa Zamboanga (one battalion) nailipat na rin namin sa Negros so in as far as the AFP is concerned I think we have enough forces to contain the situation there," he said.
"Actually we moved that because of the insurgency problem there, not actually 'yung dahil sa may mga nangyaring mga patayan," he added. (SunStar Philippines)