LAW ENFORCEMENT OPS. Policemen check motorists at the border of Tacloban City. A total of 17 most wanted persons and 938 other law offenders in Eastern Visayas were arrested from April 10 to 27 this year, the regional police office here reported on Friday (May 15, 2020). (PNA file photo)

PALO, Leyte – A total of 17 most wanted persons (MWPs) and 938 other law offenders in Eastern Visayas were arrested in 18 days of continuous operations last month, the regional police reported on Friday.

The region-wide law enforcement operations from April 10 to 27 led to the arrest of eight MWPs in Samar, five in Leyte, and one each in Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Tacloban City.

Their crimes ranged from rape, murder, frustrated murder, and qualified trespass to dwelling to violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Philippine Fisheries Code, Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba, Police Regional Office 8 (Eastern Visayas) director, said in a statement.

Some 378 wanted persons were also captured for the crimes of rape, attempted murder, frustrated murder, attempted homicide, qualified theft, robbery, alarm and scandal, acts of lasciviousness, libel, falsification of documents, use of falsified documents, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and illegal possession of bladed and blunt weapons.

Other offenders violated the Price Act, Coconut Preservation Act, Chainsaw Act, Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act, Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act, Cockfighting law, Forestry Reform Code, and the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.

The continuous operations also resulted in the arrest of 32 illegal drug personalities, three of whom were considered high-value targets, and the confiscation of 89 sachets of suspected shabu and 38 sachets of suspected marijuana.

During the intensified patrol, 187 illegal fishers were apprehended. Confiscated from them were assorted fish and fishing paraphernalia valued at PHP4,083,660.

Some 311 illegal gamblers were also captured with PHP41,608 in bet money and 30 illegal loggers with different sizes of lumber estimated to be worth PHP3,163,516.

“I humbly ask for the support and cooperation of the public in our goal towards a peaceful and safe place to live in. As we face this pandemic, let us be united and follow the mandate of the government — stay home, save lives, and have a crime-free environment,” Balba said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country, a total of 274 checkpoints across Eastern Visayas have been set up to control the movement of people. (PNA)