DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 May) – Police here conducted Thursday a house-to-house verification called “Oplan Bolabog” in Mini Forest, Barangay 23-C, known to be “havens” of lawless elements, to weed out criminals and suspected terrorists.
In a press conference Thursday, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Senior Insp. Maria Teresita Gaspan said some 161 individuals were taken to police headquarter for “questioning” and “profiling” for failure to present valid identifications (IDs) to authorities.
During the “Oplan Bolabog” operations, joint forces from the DCPO, Regional Public Safety Battalion, and Task Force Davao gathered more than a thousand residents, mostly male, around 7 a.m.
She said authorities initially covered Mini-Forest, a densely populated community composed mostly of Maranaos from Lanao del Sur.
But none were detained because nobody appeared to be guilty of crimes of terrorism and rebellion, she said.
She maintained the police conducted the operation to strengthen their monitoring mechanism on non-residents entering the city.
Gaspan said they encouraged house owners and inn operators to register their new occupants at the barangays.
“It’s applied to suspects charged with rebellion or any person involved or connected with rebellion or invasion. If there’s no probable cause to indict for a crime, he could be released immediately,” she said.
Gaspan said they have not encountered resistance from anybody as residents voluntarily subjected themselves for preliminary questioning.
She said they will ensure to observe police operation procedure in conducting of the “Oplan Bolabog” and uphold human rights.
“We assure the public that human rights shall always be upheld,” Gaspan said. “If there are abuses in furtherance of the enforcement of the law, we do not tolerate nor encourage. If there are abuses, report immediately to us, so we will conduct investigation,” she vowed.
She did not divulge the other locations to prevent compromising police operations but said they would act on reports from “confidential informants.”
Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum, DCPO director, said that the operation was a preemptive measure to thwart any move from suspected terrorists to seek refuge in the local community.
Tagum said the operation was the result of the active participation of the community.
The police operation was part of the “Hold and Secure” order of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday to prevent any violence in the city amid the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Tagum disclosed that law enforcement units were also looking for some persons with standing warrants of arrest. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)