PNP alerts security forces vs ‘lawless violence’

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday alerted all its maneuver and territorial police forces in the Bicol region, Samar, Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to help suppress sporadic incidents of violence there.

This is in response to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea’s issuance of Memorandum Order (MO) No. 32 on Nov. 22 amid “sporadic acts” of violence allegedly committed by lawless groups, particularly in the said provinces.

“Definitely we will comply with that memorandum order. In fact the directorate for operations has given (the) memorandum directive to the concerned regions, particularly PRO-8 or Eastern Visayas and PRO-6 or Western Visayas and the entire Bicol region to craft an implementation plan so that we can effectively comply and address the security concerns (in) those provinces and regions,” PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana said.

Durana said regional directors in these areas are given discretionary authority to raise alert conditions and redeploy forces as necessary.

He said employing the framework of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – PNP Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) at the national and regional levels, the PNP will realign the deployment of forces according to intelligence assessment and evaluation to thwart any attempt by threat groups to commit acts of violence.

Durana said the memorandum order is a proactive measure to address sporadic incidents of violence perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army.

In the order, Medialdea said there is a “need to reinforce the directive of the President in order to prevent further loss of innocent lives and destruction of property and bring the whole country back to a state of complete normalcy as quick as possible.”

On Sept. 4, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 55 declaring a state of national emergency on account of violence in Mindanao.

Three days later, Medialdea issued MO 03, providing guidelines for the implementation of the proclamation.

Under his proclamation, Duterte directed the AFP and PNP to undertake measures “as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws” to prevent violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country.

“To ensure respect and protection of the fundamental civil and political rights of our citizens, there is a need to reiterate the measures that the AFP and PNP can undertake during the state of national emergency on account of lawless violence,” Medialdea explained in MO 32. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)