CALBAYOG CITY, July 27 (PNA) -– The city police office is struggling to solve killings and shooting incidents in the city, citing the non-cooperation of witnesses.

Calbayog City police chief Supt. Ernesto Tagle said authorities are facing a blank wall on the recent shooting incident that seriously injured two men, as probers failed to win the cooperation of witnesses who are anxious of their personal safety.

On July 15, two farmers who were on their way to Villahermosa village simultaneously shot by unidentified gunmen along the highway in Langoyon village of the city.

The police identified the victims as Arnel Doinog, who suffered gunshot wounds on his right leg and Marlou Regulacion having been hit on his right hand.

However, initial reports disclosed that the two are not really farmers, but members of private-armed-groups (PAGS), who were ambushed by rival PAGS, also operating in the city.

Tagle said this is the first time that two rival PAGS, the Jimmy Managaysay group and the group of Doinog and Regulacion are involved in an encounter.

Aside from cooperation from witnesses, the lack of policemen personnel also hinders crimes resolution in the city, according to Tagle.

Police visibility and check-points have been intensified, but only in the city center. Augmentation force from the police regional mobile patrol group and members of the Philippine Army have been deployed to the city to man checkpoints in strategic areas.

Calbayog City has 81 police personnel protecting to safeguard about 200,000 residents in 157 villages. Of the total number of villages, 25 are urban and 132 are rural.

Last month, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas ordered the relief of 81 policemen in the city, including their city police chief and transfer them to the Samar provincial office. The order stemmed from the killing of two village officials in just one incident. (PNA)