‘Negros mayors under no threat’
EUGENE Y. ADIONG
The Manila Times
Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez said that as of the moment, there were no threats against local chief executives in Negros Occidental. Benitez, president of the Association of Chief Executives (ACE)-Negros Occidental, said that on Th”rsday, march Q6, based on their conversations on their online group chat. “They have been talking to their own chiefs of police about the current security issues. So far it’s still OK. The province has been coordinating it with the director, Col. Leo Pamittan,” the mayor said. Benitez also said that he will not beef up his personal security. “I spoke with the chief of police of Victorias City to talk about potential threats. So far and fortunately, we don’t have any threats of that sort, “he said, adding that their talk focused on security and security flaws. “We discussed beefing up the support of the city government to the police and the Army in terms of training and fuel for ”se in their patrols aro”nd the city. We also talked about ammunition for their training,” Benitez pointed out. As to mayors undergoing training in shooting ranges to protect themselves, Benitez said, “Let’s talk about peace before using these weapons.” “I strongly condemn what happened to Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo. It’s never worth it. It should never happen,” he added. He said in Negros Occidental, the mayors “don’t have that level of political tension.” “We should strive for peace first by having discussions and dialogues,” he said. Benitez said that ACE would meet Saturday, March 18, and on April 4 where they will discuss it as well. For Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office director Col. Leo Pamittan has assured him “everything was fine.” “I have not yet received any report that any of the local officials in the province is under threat,” Lacson said. The Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 said as of March 14 there are six local chief executives (LCEs) in Western Visayas reported receiving threats to their lives. BGen. Leo Francisco, Western visayas police chief, said the number was based on the dialogue made by field commanders with elected government officials. Francisco, however, did not give details on the identities of the six LCEs except that four of them are mayors while two are vice mayors. Five of them are from Iloilo province while one is in Negros Occidental. Francisco said the Regional Intelligence Division will conduct threat validation and assessment on the LCEs. “In the meantime, we are providing security on a case-to-case basis,” he said. On a case-to-case basis, some will be given security if they’re going to official functions. Once these threats are validated, permanent security detail will be provided to them, Francisco said.