120 cops to MasbateBy Mar S. Arguelles
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY—The regional police headquarters is sending 126 policemen to Masbate to keep political rivalries in one of the country’s most violent provinces from escalating into bloodshed.
Superintendent Renato Bataller, spokesperson of the Bicol regional police, said the additional policemen have undergone specialized training.
Senior Superintendent Arnold Albis, head of Special Task Force Masbate (STF Masbate), earlier ordered all policemen in Masbate to “go hard” against private armed groups, criminal gangs, fugitives and owners of unlicensed firearms.
The intensified police operations in the province follow a series of gun-related killings in March that saw nine people dead, three of which were deemed election-related.
Albis said STF Masbate has also increased surveillance operations against private armed groups being used by politicians.
The Commission on Elections has declared Masbate as a hot spot.