• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Almost four months after the Pamplona massacre, Interior and Local Government secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos rallied Negros Oriental officials and residents to “move on,” stressing that the government is in full control of the situation.
Abalos, who visited the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office on July 8 at Camp Francisco Fernandez Jr. in Sibulan, said that criminal charges have already been filed against suspects in the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo and several others before the Department of Justice.
Except for an isolated case two weeks ago, where the victim was identified as Johnar Barrios, Abalos said that the peace and order situation in Negros Oriental remains peaceful.
Barrios was reported by the police to have been shot dead by still unknown assailants on June 28 in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, as public hearings were being conducted on the proposed postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Negros Oriental.
Abalos said he visited Negros Oriental to relay the message of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that “justice will certainly be served” to families of the victims.
He also thanked the men and women of the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Army, and the provincial government of Negros Oriental led by Gov. Manuel Sagarbarria, for a job well done.
“It is on your shoulders, our men and women in PNP that people rely for peace and order. You stand tall and make sure that your responsibilities will really be implemented on the ground,” Abalos stressed during his command visit to NORPO headquarters.
P/Col. Ronan Claravall has been also designated as the new provincial police director of Negros Oriental by the Police Regional Office 7. He is formerly the commander of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7, the rapid deployment unit of PRO7.
With his assumption of NORPO command, PRO 7 also dispatched about 100 RMFB7 troopers to Negros Oriental.*