Tagbilaran City policemen were placed on full alert in a bid to thwart attack and entry of lawless elements following the fatal ambush on Negros Oriental cops allegedly staged by New People’s Army (NPA) gunmen in what was the first major offensive of the rebel group in Visayas in recent years.
Acting Tagbilaran City Police Office (TCPO) chief Supt. Patricio Degay on Tuesday told DYRD Balita that they have not received reports on the entry of armed men into the province but said that security measures have been raised.
“We’re still in full alert status. Some personnel’s days off will be waived and they were told to remain vigilant,” said Degay in Filipino. “So far, we have not received [reports] but when the incident happened in Negros, we were already in full alert status.”
However, an information surfaced recently indicating that on Saturday night some 15 to 20 armed men on board a pumpboat left Negros Island through the shores of Guihulngan City where seven men including six police officers were gunned down by suspected NPA guerrillas two days prior on July 21.
This prompted Gov. Edgar Chatto to alert all officials in Bohol including mayors down to purok leaders through text messages.
In his dispatch, Chatto urged the public particularly those in coastal areas to be watchful against suspicious activities and personalities in their respective areas.
“Everyone is urged to be vigilant particularly those living along shores, fishermen, boat owners to immediately report suspicious activities through hotline numbers,” Chatto said in Cebuano.
The report on the movements of the armed men to an unknown direction was reportedly relayed to Chatto by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 18 in the Negros Island Region.
For his part, newly appointed PRO 7 director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino said that one of his first directives included the implementation of heightened security along shorelines throughout the region in the aftermath of the alleged rebel attack in nearby Negros Oriental.
“We have been receiving information but we will still need to validate as these are still intelligence information,” said Espino.
However, the highest ranking police official in Central Visayas expressed optimism that movements of armed men including the NPA would easily be detected due to the active participation of the public in reporting suspicious activities.
On July 21, the police chief of Guihulngan City, five other cops and a civilian were killed in an ambush allegedly carried out by the communist rebels at Barangay Magsaysay in the said Negros Oriental city.
Five other personnel of the Guihulngan police were also injured. (R. Tutas)