A second look into Negros Oriental killings

At Ground Level Aug 23, 2019 at 2:46 pm

By Satur Ocampo
PhilStar.com

In 2015, on the fifth year of the P-Noy administration’s counterinsurgency program (Oplan Bayanihan), the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared the province of Negros Oriental as a “conflict-manageable and ready for further development” area. The implication was that the state security forces had succeeded in weakening the presence/influence of the New People’s Army in the province as to enable government development programs to proceed unhampered.

Four years after, however, Negros Oriental is back in turmoil. A series of killings of civilians since December 2018 until the last two weeks of July have been reported in media. And Malacañang is using the killings as justification for President Duterte to declare martial law in the province.

Referring to the situation in a speech last Thursday, Duterte said, “I am about to do something drastic. It will not sit well with everybody… but it is needed.” His spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, interpreted the “drastic” presidential move as declaring martial law in Negros Oriental. “It appears to be soon,” he added, saying Duterte would wait for the recommendation of local government officials and security forces on the ground before issuing the declaration.

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