By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – The chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) said there is no need to place Negros Oriental under martial law.
Malacañang hinted at the possibility of declaring martial rule in Negros Oriental due to the spate of killings in the province that claimed the lives of 20 persons, based on police records.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that there is no need yet to declare martial law in Negros Oriental.
MBCCI chief executive officer Frank Carbon also expressed the same view to Daily Guardian.
“No, no. There is no need to place Negros Oriental under martial law. Our law enforcers/police have enough power to quell the disturbances and the Army is ready to support the police force,” Carbon said in a text message.
He added that Dumaguete City, the political and economic capital of the province, remains normal and business friendly.
“So far, the mood in Dumaguete is business as usual. The boulevard is still full of tourist and visitors at night, according to my business associates in Dumaguete,” Carbon added.
Meanwhile, Brig.Gen.Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the Army’s 302nd Brigade based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, said the martial rule declaration is a matter for the national government to decide on.
“It is beyond my authority whether to place Negros Oriental under martial law. It is a national level decision. If I will be consulted, I will provide the decision-makers with the actual security situation in Negros Oriental for the appreciation of our leaders and aid them in deciding whether to declare martial law or not,” Madriaga said.
Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office director Col. Romeo Baleros said he will support the president’s decision on the matter.
“Of course, I will support the President in case he decides to place Negros Oriental under martial law in order to prevent the escalation of hostilities in the area,” Baleros said.
He added that the President, as a commander-in-chief of the AFP and the PNP, “has the prerogative to place the entire country or any place under Martial Law to address the problems of insurgency, terrorism and other forms of threat detrimental to national security.”
Earlier, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier Gen. Benedict Arevalo said that “with or without martial law, we have to normalize the situation in Negros Oriental.”
“We just have to do our best and ensure that the senseless killings be stopped. It should be stopped now and there is no reason to wait for any other development. As of now, I have not received a warning order nor was I asked to make recommendations. So as of now, this is still speculations that I hear in the media. If it comes, we will obey the orders, if it is not declared then we will still continue to ensure the safety of the people of Negros Oriental NOR,” Arevalo said.
He also assured that authorities are still on top of the situation and “we are optimistic that things will be normal, especially with the creation of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict by Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo and with the support and cooperation of the people.”