By: Dolly Yasa and Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – High ranking police officials revealed on Monday that six drug groups are operating in the province of Negros Occidental and one in this city.
Negros Occidental police provincial director, Col. Romeo Baleros said that there is no big time drug lord operating in the province, only six groups that distribute narcotics in the province.
Bacolod City Police director, Col. Henry Binas, on the other hand, said there is one drug lord operating in the city, adding that “she” is not from this city.
Both police officials made the revelation during a press conference Monday at the office of the Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia after the send-off rites of more than 2,000 peacekeeping forces who secured the MassKara celebrations this week.
Also in the send-off ceremony and conference were Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, PNP regional director Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan and newly designated BCPO deputy director Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido.
Pamuspusan said that the campaign against illegal drugs is a collaborative effort of police forces in the region.
“We have no boundaries as far as the campaign against illegal drugs is concerned,” he said.
He said that while the drug problem in Bacolod is more serious compared to Iloilo, this already includes the province of Negros Occidental.
Pamuspusan said police forces will just have to coordinate with each other to ensure an effective campaign against illegal drugs.
As to the recent deployment of Espenido in Bacolod City, Pamuspusan said it is meant to further intensify the campaign against illegal drugs.
When asked how far Espenido will go in the campaign against illegal drugs, Pamuspusan said that the order to Espenido is “until the last man in the illegal drugs will fall.”
On his part, Espenido said people should not take literally the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he (Espenido) can “kill anybody involved in illegal drugs
He said he will do his job within the bounds of the law adding that “wala kang dapat katakutan kung wala kang ginagawang masama.”
Meanwhile, 2,074 security forces composed of policemen, soldiers, force multipliers, and other members of law enforcement agencies were deployed on Monday to ensure the safety of the public during the remaining week-long celebration of the 40th MassKara Festival here.
The Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 announced the full deployment of the security forces during the send-off ceremony held at the Bacolod City Government Center yesterday morning.
556 policemen were from Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), 806 augmentation personnel from PRO-6, 71 from Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), 22 from the Maritime, 97 from the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), 85 from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), 30 from the Philippine Army, and 25 from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
For the logistics, 23 mobile patrol car, three firetrucks, one mantruck, 33 motorcycles, 10 ambulances, 100 equipment from the City Disaster Management (CDM), and 200 handheld radios will also be utilized.
Biñas told the security forces that there should be no untoward or major incidents like bombing or any acts of terrorism, kidnapping, and murder cases during the whole duration of the festivity.
“We have a very important mission for this festival,” he said, as he also ordered them to reduce significantly the crimes against persons and property, increase the confidence of the people, and reduce their fear of crime.
At present, Biñas noted that no untoward incidents related to the festival were reported in the previous weeks.
“Let us show to everybody that indeed Bacolod is the festival capital of the Philippines. We urge everyone to help us make the MassKara Festival a very peaceful one,” Biñas said.
Pamuspusan said “this is a very big event and we should perform based on the expectations of the people.”
Pamuspusan also mentioned the reminder of Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa, officer-in-charge of Philippine National Police (PNP), that there is a pressing need for discipline in their organization.
He said that the deployment of these forces can assure the people that they are ready to render their services and show to them that policemen here and in Western Visayas in general are disciplined and are up to the job and expectations of the people.
He also urged the public to assist the police in rendering smooth safety measures during the festivity.
Meanwhile, Mayor Evelio Leonardia thanked the law enforcers and the force multipliers for ensuring the safety of the people and other revelers in the festival.
“MassKara is something very precious, and it is an icon of Bacolod and we should do everything to preserve, protect, and nurture the festival,” he said.