Police alerted on possible arrival of armed groups from Mindanao

DUMAGUETE CITY, June 22 (PNA) -– Police authorities in Negros Oriental are keeping a close eye on the possible arrival of suspected armed men from nearby Mindanao following intelligence reports newly hired associates of a notorious robbery/hold-up gang from Ozamis City were headed towards Region 7 (Central Visayas).

This was confirmed by Sr. Supt. Dionardo Carlos, newly installed provincial director of the Negros Oriental Philippine National Police Office (NOPPO) Monday afternoon in an interview at the Capitol during a call on the governor.

Sr. Supt. Carlos, who had earlier updated Governor Roel Degamo on the intelligence report, further confirmed that he had summoned the different police chiefs and other police unit commanders Monday morning for a command conference to plan out safety nets against the possible entry of these armed men to Negros Oriental.

He went on to say NOPPO had received a directive from the PNP Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) regarding the intelligence report.

The PRO-7 report named at least two members of the Ozamis Robbery Group (whose names were withheld for security reasons) and their “newly hired associates are heading to Cebu for an unknown purpose”.

A source from the PRO-7 who requested anonymity disclosed, though, that the report has yet to be verified and that so far, there are no indications that these personalities have already reached the shores of Cebu or Negros Oriental.

The police here are not taking any chances with the still unverified report, especially as in the past, suspects from Mindanao-based robbery gangs had pulled some heists here, including the foiled daytime robbery of a pawnshop in downtown Dumaguete City involving some P5-million worth of jewelry.

Meanwhile, Governor Degamo, in reaction to the report, said his marching order to Sr. Supt. Carlos was to eliminate and/or dismantles all of these armed groups.

Degamo disclosed there are unconfirmed reports that some armed groups are being used by politicians.

“I am sending a strong message to these people. [Get] out of this province before you are arrested because we are determined to dismantle all of you in this province”, he warned.

The governor also believes there is a high possibility that the armed groups coming to the province will be utilized for the coming 2016 elections.

Sr. Supt. Carlos, whose controversial appointment as OIC provincial police director of Negros Oriental is being questioned by the governor, assured the latter the police are doing their best to institute preventive measures and coordinate with different stakeholders.

Carlos, whose appointment the governor rejected due to “procedural lapses” has reiterated that it is of utmost importance that the PNP and the provincial government, particularly the provincial chief executive, are in sync in the programs and projects on peace and order, safety and security of the people.

Governor Degamo disclosed Monday that after some serious consideration, he has accepted Carlos to the post but his objection to the PNP’s selection process remains the same.

It has nothing to do with the man, who has proven his worth and has the character, integrity and capability of running the police affairs of the province, having been assigned Dumaguete police chief a number of years back, but the PNP’s apparent failure to give the governor the mandated authority to choose his provincial police director, Degamo added. (PNA)