Stepped up security in Bicol, Visayas hailed, denounced

November 23, 2018

A HOUSE leader has expressed support for the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to deploy additional soldiers and police in Bicol region and some provinces in the Visayas.

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., who is a representative of Camarines Sur, believes that the order has a basis, following reports of lawless violence and acts of terror.

“I support the order of the President as I believe that it was  based on  verified information which came into  his possession which for security reasons cannot be declassified,” Andaya said.

The House leader however called on the agencies that will implement the order to explain the breadth and limits of their powers and actions to the public, in a language easily understood.

“This is to avoid conflict, misinformation, misperception, and no wrong implementation will happen,” Andaya said.

“Both the public and the police and the military should be mindful of the clear language of Section 4 of the  order  that  civil or political rights are  not suspended  and all the constitutional rights  of every individual shall be respected,” he added.

Yesterday, President Duterte ordered the deployment of additional troops to different provinces around the country to suppress “sporadic acts of violence” allegedly committed by lawless groups.

However, some opposition solons expressed fears the order might be a prelude to the declaration of Martial Law in other parts of the country.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said the order is unnecessary because sporadic violence can be handled through normal peace and security operations of the PNP.

“If the intent is to instill a sense of urgency to security forces to control lawless violence, such can be done through the normal chain of command and relieving officers not doing their job to arrest such lawlessness,” Villarin said.

“But if this directive is meant to stifle legitimate protests of farmers in Negros Occidental wanting full implementation of agrarian reform and justice for the murder of Atty Ben Ramos, then this is another classic case of low intensity conflict tactics leading to repression of legitimate dissent,” he added.