CALBAYOG CITY — The Army and police formed a task force to disband private armies in the first legislative district of Samar province.
The Philippine Army lead the Joint Task Force Calbayog, Gandara, San Jorge, Matuguinao and Sta. Margarita (JTF Cagasmas) where cases of killing linked to private armed groups have been reported. The Philippine National Police (PNP) is the co-chair.
Most of the victims are village officials and supporters of political leaders.
Records validated by the police and Army show that since January to September this year, 63 shooting incidents had been recorded in Calbayog City and three nearby towns.
Law enforcement agencies reported that there are 31 private armies in Calbayog City, eight are in Sta. Margarita, 13 in Matuguinao, and 10 in Gandara town. About half of them have standing warrant of arrests.
On Thursday, key provincial and town government officials signed a commitment of support to the task force.
Philippine Army Central Command Commander Major General Raul Del Rosario said that local government plays a vital role in ending killings in Samar province.
Rosario said the Philippine Army provided 109 personnel to help the PNP in the joint task force whose main objective is to conduct operation against private armed groups and put behind bars those with standing warrant of arrest.
“This is to show that we are serious in helping securing peace and order in this place. We need your sincerity if you really want to address this problem,” Del Rosario told Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos and concerned mayors.
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