Former Calbayog City Mayor and now DILG chief Mel Senen Sarmiento.
The former Calbayog City Mayor and now DILG chief Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar, (PNA) – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento admitted that he is personally affected by the recent killings in his hometown, leading others to tag the city as “killbayog.”

In an assembly with civil society organizations on Tuesday, Sarmiento emotionally admitted that he was deeply hurt, for he has worked hard to make Calbayog a better city.

Recently, a high ranking official of the province on a national news broadcast tagged Calbayog as “killbayog” due to recent shooting incidents in the city.

“It really hurts thinking that we worked hard to develop and make this place a better place to live in, but it will be tagged with terms that really hurt me, that Calbayog became killbayog,” Sarmiento said.

“For so many years you’ve delivered sales speeches to encourage people to invest in the city, but incidents like this happened,” he lamented.

Sarmiento served as mayor of Calbayog City for nine years, turning it as one of the top performing cities in the country.

He then served as representative for the first district of Samar before he was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as DILG chief.

According to Sarmiento, from the time he assumed the highest post in DILG, he immediately talked with national top police officials about the peace and order situation of the city and the entire province of Samar.

Sarmiento said he is now in a better position to address the peace and order in the province.

On Tuesday, Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez joined Sarmiento in visiting the city and attended the PNP Regional Conference, focusing on the peace and order situation in the entire Samar province.

Sarmiento asked the support of his townmates to make Calbayog a peaceful place.

“Let us help one another to bring back peace in our city,” Sarmiento appealed.

“The main reason why we are here with the PNP chief is to address the problem in Calbayog. I know others are already impatient, but we are here to assure you that the PNP and AFP are doing their primordial mission to bring the Calbayog that we know of before without these incidents,” Sarmiento stressed.

Data from Calbayog police office showed that 43 shooting incidents have been recorded from January until mid-December. (PNA)