Police order crackdown vs illegal firearms in Negros Oriental

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Central Visayas police ordered a crackdown against illegal firearms in Negros Oriental after an unregistered gun was found at a crime scene where a teen and a barangay captain were killed. 

Central Visayas police chief Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon told reporters on Monday, December 16, that the order was prompted by the killing in Bayawan City over the weekend.

The victims – identified as 47-year-old Johnny Condez, the captain of Barangay Kalamtukan, and 16-year-old Danny Marata Jr – were killed when they stopped to look for signal in an agricultural area of the town. 

They were shot by unidentified assailants from a nearby sugarcane field. 

The teen's father, 48-year-old Danny Marata Sr, was wounded in the attack but survived.

De Leon, who used to head the firearms and explosives office before becoming Central Visayas' regional director, said that cracking down on unregistered firearms would help them investigate violent crimes in the province.

"They will be accountable for that violation," De Leon said.

Negros Oriental police were told to begin hunting down illegal guns in the province immediately.

While violence and conflict are not new to the province – a stronghold of the Communist Party of the Philippines' New People's Army – violence reached unprecedented highs in July, when as many as 15 people were killed in one week.

De Leon said this week, however, that the number has gone down since then, promising to release the data to the public before the Christmas break. (READ: Negros Oriental bloodshed: State-sponsored or insurgency related?

"It has decreased," De Leon said in Filipino. "But we are not contented with nagbaba (declining). We envisioned that there would be no more senseless killings," he said.

De Leon said at least 10 suspects have been identified related to the killing in Bayawan, but declined to release their identities as operations are ongoing. – Rappler.com