PNP sends 300 SAF as deaths in Negros Oriental rise
The Philippine National Police ( PNP) deployed around 300 Special Action Forces in Negros Island after a series of killings.
Since July 18, the Negros Oriental provincial police office said they recorded 18 deaths in the province, including four police intelligence officers who were allegedly summary executed by the New People's Army.
In a press briefing, Police General Oscar Albayalde said this deployment will augment police in the province.
"I have ordered yesterday (Sunday) the deployment of more than 300 Special Action Force troops to Negros Island to augment local police units in anti-criminality and internal security operations against criminal elements and dissident terrorist groups operating in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental," said Albayalde.
He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP) also deployed their troops there.
Albayalde said pursuit operations against perpetrators continue.
The PNP chief debunked the claim of the communist rebels that government forces are the ones behind the killing.
"There is also a scheme on the part of CPP-NPA ( Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army) where they sacrifice their own and we can see that they are blaming the government forces for alleged human rights violation," said Albayalde.
"And they always point at government forces when there are killings," he added.
He said these acts are part of CPP-NPA's propaganda against the government.
Albayalde said the situation in Negros Oriental is not getting out of hand.
"I don't think (so) because this is confined in an area only... not the whole Negros Island but we all know for a fact that we have a long time problem of insurgency there because of ownership of land," he said.
He added leftist groups are "taking advantage" of this kind of issues.
On the statement of leftist groups in Negros that the government will use the incidents in the province to declare martial law, Albayalde said President Rodrigo Duterte has not mentioned it.
"Well so far, the president did not say anything about that (martial law). The president is being briefed. The reports coming here are also shared to the Office of the President and he does not have that kind of instruction," he said.
He said the only instruction Duterte gave is to end insurgency not only in Negros but the whole country.
Albayalde reiterated that Duterte has his the National Security Council which can recommend if there is a need to declare martial law in the area.
"What we give to the president is what is actually happening. We don't recommend as of yet. We are not saying anything and the president is not asking," he said.
"We cannot second guess the president.. it depends on his appreciation," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS