GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 August) – City Mayor Ronnel Rivera gave local police officials only until December to improve their performance, especially in addressing the worsening problem on illegal drugs and the rising number of unsolved killings in the area.
The mayor issued the ultimatum as he directed anew city police director Senior Supt. Froilan Quidilla and other top police officers in the area to “to address with dispatch” the continuing illegal drug menace that was reportedly behind a number of the recorded murders in the city.
He said his office has received numerous reports that illegal drug-related activities in the city have become rampant anew these past several months.
“I am giving our city police force up to December to produce concrete results and once and for all clean our city from illegal drugs. This menace should simply stop,” he said.
Rivera also directed the city police “to identify, apprehend and prosecute people behind the summary killings and assassinations in the city, including the alarming increase in rape cases.”
From January to June this year, the city police office recorded a total of 70 shooting incidents that were mostly perpetrated by motorcycle riding-in-tandem gunmen.
Of these cases, it said only 31 cases had remained unsolved but most of the suspects were still at-large.
Citing results of their investigation, police officials earlier said most of these cases were related to illegal drugs and personal grudges.
The three barangays that posted the most number of gun-related killings were Calumpang with eight and Lagao and Dadiangas West with six each.
“The buck stops at me but I am also warning the city’s police force. Do not wait until I cut you off from the support we have been giving the city police office. We need results. We need to make people safe in the city,” Rivera said.
The mayor earlier said he has been evaluating the performance of local police officials and that he would not hesitate to seek their immediate replacement or relief if their performance will not improve.
To help address the problem, Rivera said he recently ordered policemen detailed under his office to return to their mother units.
Such move will help maximize the deployment of city police personnel in various strategic areas and during operations.
“The safety of the people is paramount to me more than protecting the city mayor. I do not want to further reduce the police-population ratio in the city,” he said.
Quidilla earlier assured that they have been doing everything to curb the problem on illegal drugs and in solving the murder cases and other crimes in the city despite their limited resources.
He said they have been maximizing the deployment of their personnel in various public places and for regular patrols in the city.
But he said they have been facing difficulty in responding to some incidents due to the lack of patrol vehicles and communication equipment. (MindaNews)