DND: Special military, police forces on 6-month deployment only
The special military and police forces to be deployed to the Bicol region, Samar, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental will not stay longer than six months in the rebel-infested areas, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The four areas are covered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32, which he issued on Nov. 22 to suppress lawless violence he blames on New People’s Army rebels.
“[W]e will not be permanently moving infantry battalions there, but we might bring in Special Forces, (Scout) Rangers and also the [police Special Action Force] for temporary operations only,” Lorenzana said in an interview aired on ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.
“Maybe [they will be there] for just six months, also in time for the midterm elections,” he added.
Lorenzana said the President’s order covered areas where NPA insurgents were known to operate and extort money from candidates during elections.
Bicol, Samar and Negros Island have remained “problematic” to the military due to constant attacks and recruitment activities by the insurgents, unlike the rest of Luzon and other areas in the Visayas, Lorenzana said.
MO 32 directs the military and the police to deploy additional forces “to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental and the Bicol region, and prevent such violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the country.” —Jeannette I. Andrade
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