OFFICIALS from Police Regional Office-Davao Region (PRO-Davao) and Philippine Army said they are strictly monitoring the emergence of private army groups (PAGs) in Davao Region.

“We don’t have monitored PAGs here in Davao Region,” Major Eudisan Gultiano, PRO-Davao spokesperson, said in a press conference, March 15.

“Kung meron man [PAGs] kayong makikita, iyan iyong security bodyguards ng mga politicians natin, pero hindi naman iyon ginagamit para maghasik ng violence sa kanilang community (If there are PAGs, those are security bodyguards of politicians but they are not used cause violence in communities),” Gultiano added.

Gultiano said private armies are assembled as an organized groups of two or more persons with legally or illegally issued firearms.

“They [PAGs] are hired for the purpose of committing acts of violence, sowing fear, intimidation for the advancement and protection of political or economic interest,” Gultiano said in a Facebook message.

Gultiano said in Davao Region, there are no heated political rivalries that would resort to using private armies to influence and seek support from the community.

“We are peace-loving people in Davao Region at na-achieve din natin ang insurgency-free sa tulong ng mga komunidad (we achieved insurgency-free status with the help of our community),” Gultiano said.

Meanwhile, Major Mark Anthony Tito, chief of DPAO 10th infantry division, said they are strengthening the monitoring of their personnel and possible threat groups like PAGs in their area of responsibility.

“So far sa tanang threat groups na atong gina-monitor, wala man ta diri (Of all our monitored threat groups, we have not identified any formation of PAGs),” Tito said.

“Wala na man po kaming data sa PAGs dito sa ating (We do not have any data of PAGs here in our) area of responsibility,” Tito added.

Both agencies urged elected public officials that for their safety, they must closely coordinate with the authorities. ICE