PNP says 7 died in police operations but Holy Week "generally peaceful": Dela Rosa
Despite seven deaths in police operations during Holy Week, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa described it as “generally peaceful” despite drowning incidents and skirmishes with the New People's Army (NPA).
“Generally peaceful. The incidents that we monitored are drowning incidents, harassment of course in connection with the anniversary of NPA. We have said before they are trying to project themselves as a force to reckon with. It is before or after the celebration of their anniversary (on March 29),” Dela Rosa said Monday.
Dela Rosa added a total of 811 people were arrested during anti-illegal drug operation during the Lenten Season from March 28 to April 1.
Dela Rosa said four were killed in police operations in Central Luzon, one each in Calabarzon, Soccsksargen and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“ (We) arrested total of 811. (the) NCRPO 333 operations conducted 505 meaning there was no let-up in our anti-drug operation during the Lenten Season,” he said.
In a press release, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, PNP spokesman, said “aside from some isolated cases of vehicular accidents, sea mishaps and drowning, the National Operations Center (NOC) did not monitor any significant or serious incident that threatened general peace and order, and internal security as of 6 am of April 2.”
“In addition, the NOC recorded 39 reports of drowning incidents in ten regions around the country with ten incidents reported in Calabarzon, nine in Central Luzon, eight in the Cagayan Valley Region, five in Bicol, two in Davao and one incident each in the Ilocos-Pangasinan Region, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao and Caraga Region,” he said.
“The Operations Center also received reports of ten vehicular accidents: four in Central Luzon, two in Bicol and one incident each in Cordillera, Caraga and Cagayan Valley regions,” he added.
Bulalacao said based on reports rescue units of PNP responded to three sea mishaps in the Western Visayas and Caraga region on Holy Week.
He mentioned there were two theft and two physical injury cases reported in Central Luzon and Caraga regions and these are being investigated.
“From Maundy Thursday (March 29) until Black Saturday (March 31), the NOC monitored 16 separate internal security incidents in Mindanao and Luzon involving threat groups and criminal elements,” he said.
“These include the series of skirmishes between government troops and New People’ Army dissident terrorists in Misamis Oriental; a landmine explosion in Camarines Sur; harassment in Masbate; separate encounters in Camarines Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Davao del Sur, and an IED explosion in Sulu,” he added.
When asked when the PNP will lift its alert level, Dela Rosa said it will be determined by regional directors of PNP depending on the situation in their areas.
“I have delegated the authority to declare the alert level to the regional directors, subordinate unit
commanders. They will be the one to determine if they think there is a need to extend,” he said.
“If there are still a lot of people or tourists in their area, they can extend ( the alert) but if they think there is no need they can downgrade the alert level to normal,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS