More than 300 SAFs deployed to Negros provinces after slew of killings

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At least nine people were killed in Negros Oriental in less than ten days. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) — More than 300 special action forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were deployed to Negros Island after a slew of violent events and deaths were reported in the area, its chief said.

PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Monday said that on Sunday he ordered "the deployment of more than 300 Special Action Forces to Negros Island to augment local police units in anti-criminality and internal security operations against criminal elements and dissident terrorists operating in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental."

In just nine days, at least nine people were killed, including policemen, in separate incidents in Negros Oriental. On July 18, four police officers were murdered, allegedly by armed rebels. President Rodrigo Duterte raised a bounty of ₱3 million for “the head” of the perpetrators behind the killing.

Sunny Caldera, 51, incumbent Mabato village captain, died on July 22. Reports said the Negros village chief tagged in the crime committed suicide, but the President dismissed this claim.

Albayalde says the killing was perpetrated by propagandists who “sacrifice their own” to pin the deaths on armed government personnel.

“That is part of their propaganda actually, na they sacrifice their own and they blame the government forces for it,” he said.

He added that the slain policemen were allegedly tortured before they died.

Five days after the murder of the officers, a 53-year-old lawyer was shot in his vehicle by riding-in-tandem gunmen in Guihulngan City.

On July 25, three public officials were reportedly shot dead in their homes in the same city. Two days later the former mayor of Ayungon town — the same town where the policemen were killed — and his cousin died from several gunshots fired by gunmen in his house.

“Continuous ‘yung kanilang hot pursuit operations toegther with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Lahat itong patayan na ‘to ay tintingnan,” Albayalde assured.

[Their (regional police) hot pursuit operations, together with the Amred Forces on the Philippines are continuous. We are looking into all these killings.]