COMMAND CONFERENCE. Newly-installed Negros Oriental acting provincial police director Col. Reynaldo Lizardo meets with police chiefs and unit heads to discuss, among other things, the shootings in the province on Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2022). The police are strengthening their security measures following the series of attacks this week. (Photo from NegOr Pulis' Facebook page)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Police authorities in Negros Oriental are stepping up their anti-criminality measures across the province following a series of shootings this week.

Col. Reynaldo Lizardo, acting provincial police director, told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday he has ordered simultaneous checkpoints in all the towns and cities while instituting other measures to ensure the safety of the people.

“Aside from the checkpoints, we have increased police visibility and mobility, including foot and mobile patrols, and cops on motorbikes who continuously drive around town day and night,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Lizardo, who was installed in Negros Oriental last Monday, met with the police chiefs and unit commanders for his first command conference on Wednesday.

They have also intensified their operations against loose firearms, such as the service of search warrants, and the facilitation of the licensing of guns, he said.

Lizardo’s statement came as shootings were reported in the province on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Of the three cases, the one on Wednesday was deemed “closed” after police arrested the suspect hours after the crime.

This involved a public school teacher, Sherwin Mananquil, 55, who was driving his car early morning in Pamplona town when a motorcycle-riding suspect suddenly drove up and shot him.

Mananquil survived the shooting and sustained a minor bullet graze on his left shoulder.

Hours later, following pursuit operations, police arrested the suspect, James Escario Carcuevas, in nearby Tanjay City and was identified by the victim.

Personal grudge is considered as a possible motive for the attack.

On Tuesday night, police reported a shooting that transpired at the fish port area in Barangay Suba, Bayawan City.

The victim, identified as Michael John Go Ong, alias Atchong, of Barangay Villareal, was shot dead by two riding-in-tandem suspects.

Ong was the owner of the Atchong Videoke outlet in Barangay Suba.

Police investigators are still looking into his previous alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Meanwhile, the first shooting this week involved the driver of Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. of the 3rd district of Negros Oriental.

Juvanie Palagtiw Catubay, 38, of Sitio Break Water in Poblacion in Sta. Catalina was gunned down Monday afternoon by two motorcycle-riding suspects in Sitio Bunsod, Barangay Obat.

Lizardo said they are considering different angles behind the shooting but declined to elaborate.

The provincial police director allayed public fears, saying the attacks are “not connected to each other”.

He urged the community to help in peacekeeping efforts, saying that the police cannot do it alone. (PNA)