THE Philippine Army has augmented security in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, following a series of shootings that has claimed three lives and injured another.
Superintendent Frankie Lugo, city police chief, said the Army pulled out some of their troops in Guihulngan City, considered a stronghold of the New People’s Army (NPA), to boost the security forces in Canlaon.
The NPA will celebrate their 47th founding anniversary on Tuesday, March 29.
Lugo said the “main effort of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is concentrated on Guihulngan” for the rebel group’s anniversary, but could not ignore the Canlaon shootings.
He said the Canlaon shootings may be aimed “to make a scenario” and divert the attention of authorities, as he considered the incidents “alarming.”
Lugo said that Senior Superintendent Harris Fama, acting director of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, has ordered him to look deeper into the shootings.
He also said that Fama directed him “not to be impulsive” to avoid a repeat of the ambush incident in Candoni, Negros Occidental, perpetrated by the NPA last month.
The attack claimed the lives of two policemen and injured two others, as well as a civilian.
On March 22, Tuesday, three men were shot dead in Sitio Inatito, Barangay Bucalan, Canlaon city.
Police identified the fatalities as Juvy Mahusay, 44, of Barangay Patun an, and William Arquil, 57, of Barangay Bantayanon, all in Calatrava, Negros Occidental; and Anthony Tuso, 32, of Barangay Palampas, San Carlos City, also in Negros Occidental.
Lugo said the victims were killed by unidentified men around 8 p.m., but the incident was only reported to the police on Wednesday, March 23.
He added that the victims were going around the hinterland village to sell solar panels. They were last seen in Guihulngan City on Monday, March 21.
“They have markings on their hands indicating that they were tied but we never recovered the ropes,” Lugo said.
Residents saw about 30 armed men in the barangay after the incident, Lugo said.
On March 23, another man was injured after he was shot by his neighbor, a suspected NPA member, in Barangay Budlasan.
The victim was identified as Danilo Proponio, 38, of Sitio Gusa.
Lugo said the victim was walking with the suspect, identified as Lane Jipulan of Guihulngan City, near his house when he was shot.
The NPA believed that the victim is an informant of the police and military, he added.
On March 14, suspected NPA members also gunned down a village watchman in Barangay Bucalan.
Maximo Cortado Jr., 57, was killed by 11 assailants while his relative, Mario Sanchez, was unharmed after he was told by the suspected rebels to run away.