Drugs and crime groups intend to overhaul the officials openly declaring all-out war against all forms of criminalities by flushing the electorate with cash to influence their votes in the May elections.
In his report during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting on February 18, Police Provincial Director Dennis Agustin warned that drug syndicates could be funding the election activities of some candidates to secure protection of their business in the province.
â€œDrugs syndicates and criminal groups want to maintain their preserve and many times political protection. They are threats to candidates openly campaigning for their eradication,â€ according to Agustin.
The BPPO looks into intense rivalry, narco-politics and crime politics as the â€œthree ingredients that create a volatile election situation in Boholâ€.
Narco-politics and criminal politics have sabotaged Bohol development with their underground operation that made Bohol, â€œnot just a trans-shipment, but haven of drug pushers and usersâ€.
Agustin said the Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) will continue with the relentless campaign against illegal drugs, noting that most of the crimes â€œpoint to one thing—drug addiction.
â€œMurder, homicide, physical Injuries, rape, and even theft and robbery cases in most instance point to one thing, drug addiction,â€ Agustin said.
He said â€œsubstance abuse continues to hound the province, despite numerous operations and significant accomplishmentsâ€.
In fact, the PDEA team conducted uprooted eight stalks of marijuana plants in Barangay Lourdes, Panglao on January 14, together with CIDG-Bohol and personnel of the 703rdÂ Maritime Police Station. The uprooted marijuana plants had a total net weight of 1550.50 grams.
In January, the BPPO conducted 26 anti-illegal drugs operations that resulted to the arrest of 25 persons where a total of 95.96 grams of shabu with value of P1.13 million had been confiscated, and 38 cases had been filed in court.
â€œBohol is not just a trans-shipment, but haven of drug pushers and users. We suspect that drug money is being used to fund election activities of some. The discovery of guns-for-hire operating here proved that there are deadly assassins in the province, loose firearms and funds to finance assassination.â€ Agustin added.
The BPPO also noted intense rivalry of candidates at the municipal, district-wide, and provincial levels.
â€œPossible Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS) are Buenavista, Antequera, Clarin, Inabanga, Bilar, Ubay, Cortes, and Danao, while their main representation are coherent of violence, that the animosity of partnership among followers is hard to control,â€ Agustin said.
On this, Agustin said the BPPO prepared a peace covenant for the upcoming elections.
Agustin also reported that the shooting incidents recorded on February 1-17 left six persons dead and one injured.
This time, Carmen topped the record with three victims—two died and one injured. One shooting incident had been recorded in each of these areas—Tagbilaran City, Calape, Buenavista, and Dagohoy—where all the victims died.
The crime volume dropped by 12 percent from 749 in December 2015 to 660 in January this year though.
Comparing the statistics in these periods, non-index crimes decreased from 488 to 399, while index crimes also decreased from 271 to 261.
Theft and traffic-related incidents in cases of homicide and physical injury remain the top concerns of the BPPO.
Cases of theft increased from 118 to 119, followed by physical injury that decreased from 64 to 55, and robbery that increased from 39 to 43. Carnapping increased from 18 to 22 cases, followed by murder that increased from seven to 11 cases, rape that decreased from 11 to 10 cases.
Homicide decreased from three cases to only one case.
However, the BPPO recorded 126 traffic-related incidents that resulted to additional cases of physical injury and five more cases of homicide in January.
The crime volume of 660 recorded in January this year included 454 non-traffic related and 206 traffic-related incidents.
Of the 206 traffic-related incidents in January, 126 had been associated to physical injury, 75 to damage to property, and five to homicide.
Agustin noted that prevalent of the crimes recorded â€œare theft and physical injuries, the latter mostly recorded as a result of traffic-related incidents. Murder and homicide cases, in most instances, point to drug menace as the reason in the commission of suchâ€.
He said â€œmotorcycle are very accessible and easy to own and drivers are often undisciplined.
â€œMinors are even tolerated by parents to drive. These realities contributed much to the increase of traffic-related incidents,â€ according to Agustin.
As to the police response, Agustin said BPPO personnel are supposedly capable of addressing the concerns but have been â€œlimited in its capacity to respond and assist victims of crimes and traffic accidents due to lack of response vehicles, radios, and other essential equipmentâ€.
â€œThere is a need to further enhance the capability of the police with regards to equipment, especially those needed to respond to a high-profile crime incidents,â€ according to Agustin.
Meanwhile, the BPPO plans to create a Tourist Liason office under the Bohol Tourist Police Unit (BTPU) that will cater to the needs of foreign nationals in the province.
In the project design, there will be an office at the BPPO for each of the prominent nationalities.
The services of the office, to be called BTPU Foreign Liaison Office (BFLO), will help foreigners living and visiting Bohol in all normal police matters from immigration to criminal investigation in coordination with Interpol-Visayas and the PNP Transnational Crime Office.
â€œThe BFLO team shall be composed of BPPO personnel and volunteer foreign counterpart who will work hand in hand to help foreigners in Bohol seeking assistance,â€ according to Agustin.