Camp Olivas, Pampanga—Close to 600 suspected criminals, including 21 Most Wanted persons in Central Luzon have been put behind bars after police operations over three days.
Thousands of firearms, mostly handguns and assault rifles, were also confiscated in the three-day operations in prime cities and municipalities across the region, said Region 3 Police Director Brig. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia.
Sermonia said in the operations, PNP Central Luzon operatives arrested a total of 594 individuals, 158 with standing warrants of arrest for various crimes. About 189 were arrested for illegal drugs, and 247 were arrested for violation of other special laws and local ordinances.
The arrests and confiscated firearms are part of the anti-criminality operations as directed by police higher-ups ahead of the Southeast Asia Games to be held on Nov. 30, Sermonia said.
Several SEA Games events will be played at Clark Field in Pampanga and the Philippine Arena complex in Bulacan.
“These recent accomplishments, particularly the arrest of dangerous fugitives, people involved in illegal drugs, terrorism, and street crimes were the results of the strong support of all local chief executives in the anti-criminality and anti-insurgency campaigns of the PNP-PRO3,” the general said.
He also thanked the cooperation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and members of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC 3), which counts the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the National Economic and Development Authority.
Meanwhile, during the same span, 71 former New People’s Army fighters surrendered to PNP and local government authorities in Central Luzon. They are among 105 former communist rebels who returned to the fold of the law and availed of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) for rebel returnees.
Of those arrested, 113 came from the province of Pampanga, 91 from Bulacan, 90 from Nueva Ecija, 81 from Olongapo City, 69 from Tarlac, 46 from Bataan, 35 from Angeles City, 31 from Zambales, and 13 from Aurora
Twenty-three were arrested by the Regional Intelligence Division and two were arrested by the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3.
Sermonia said that over the weekend, he ordered all provincial directors and chiefs-of-police to conduct intensified Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations (SACLEO) as part of the PNP crime mitigation efforts.
These are meant “to deprive criminals of the opportunity to commit crimes relative to the security coverage that the PNP has laid out for the upcoming 30th SEA Games,: he said.
Sermonia continued to appeal for the public’s full support and cooperation as he warned all criminals that the full arm of the law will be used against them.
While simulation exercises are being done in various areas of engagement for the SEA Games, PNP units in Region 3 carried out actual and proactive crime prevention drives by accounting for all wanted persons, clearing the streets of drug personalities, and taking weapons and other instruments of violence from criminals before they can use them, the general said.