Negros Or. guv not keen on martial law

(Photo Courtesy of Provincial Government of Negros Oriental)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo is not keen on placing the province under martial law but three mayors support the move.

The possibility of President Rodrigo declaring martial law in Negros Oriental was to the spate of extra judicial killings in the area.

The three mayors who favor martial law are in the localities where the killings happened – Emarie “Erwin” Agustino of Ayungon, Guido Reyes of Guihulngan City, and Mayor Jose “Batchuk” Cardenas of Canlaon City.

Degamo said President Rodrigo Duterte would not declare martial law in the province if it was “not necessary.”

He said the recent spate of killings were isolated cases limited to specific areas.

“In my point of view, if there is no law and order in the province, maybe that’s the time, martial law will be declared. For now, it is an isolated case only for two local government units,” Degamo said.

Degamo added that he would depend on the suggestions of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police, but neither had recommended martial law so far.

Mayor Agustino said there were positive feedbacks on the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, while Guihulngan City Mayor Reyes said that people became disciplined because of it.

Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, regional police director of Central Visayas, downplayed the possibility that Negros Oriental will be placed under martial law.

Sinas said the shooting incidents were being blown out of proportion, insisting that they are on top of the situation.

He added that except for the summary execution of four policemen in Ayungon by communist rebels, the killings of former Mayor Edsel Enardecido, two barangay captains and a councilor, and Department of Education employees were “nothing extraordinary.”

Police records showed that more than 20 persons have been killed in Negros Oriental, following the alleged torture and murder of four policemen by New People’s Army gunmen in Ayungon town.

Six suspects have already been accounted for by the police in the killing of the four intelligence operatives of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, assured that they are on top of the situation, after the series of killings two weeks ago.

“With or without martial law, the senseless killings should be stopped now,” Arevalo said.