By John Noel E. Herrera
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. ordered the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) to strengthen its threat assessment of each town in the province from all possible sources, including local insurgents, to make sure that local chief executives (LCEs) and the public remain safe.
On Thursday, March 9, 2023, Defensor, together with IPPO Director Col. Ronaldo Palomo, met all LCEs in the province to discuss different security situations at the municipal level.
“Kay ang gusto naton mahatagan man sang deliberate, regular kag systematic update ang aton mayors sa security situations sang ila banwa, probinsya kag sang ila personal, so that they can make adjustments and makapang-aman ang mayors naton,” Defensor said in a press conference on the same day.
The move came on the heels of the murder of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and eight other individuals last March 4, 2023.
The governor explained that the PNP has been doing its assessment and authorities have not identified threats in the province so far, including any active or potential private armed groups, but noted that measures should be strengthened as situations “are developing.”
“Ang assessment sang PNP sa subong nothing is serious, but of course, that is developing. I told them that we will do it again, especially when the election is near, so I think amu na sitwasyon naton sa subong,” Defensor added.
He also said that threats triggered by political rivalries in the province are rare, unlike in other areas, but stressed that local leaders should still be conscious and observe security measures.
“Kagina we are comparing our situation with other provinces, pero lain kita eh. That is why lain ang sitwasyon naton di sa Iloilo. Ang politika ta lain man, but again, that is why bisan lain, nag-meeting kita para hindi kita malipat and mag-untat magpang-aman because the security of our mayors is also the security of the people,” the governor said.
Defensor noted that IPPO can provide security personnel to LCEs, but it will depend on the threat assessment and situation of the local leaders.
“We leveled off with our mayors, the PNP, focusing first on their security, kung ano gid bala pwede nga security assistance nga mahatag sa ila sang aton PNP kag gobyerno, which is already existing based on the guidelines,” he said.
When asked if he is willing to have his own security personnel, Defensor noted that he would accept it “if necessary.”
“Not nga nakulbaan, but it is a reminder nga parte na sang trabaho and we should make adjustments and be more conscious,” he added.
A previous IPPO report stated that no elected government officials in the province have so far claimed that they received any threat to their lives.
Defensor also emphasized the importance of intelligence work in determining possible security threats in the province, as the IPPO eyes a quarterly assessment in the towns through the intelligence personnel of each municipal police station.
“We will surely make adjustments sa aton nga security. We are working with the PNP, maumpisa kita sa threat assessment, intelligence work, and the corresponding needed security measures nga i-implement ta,” the governor added.