The peace and security situation in Mindanao has actually been improving despite the recent killing of a provincial board member of Dinagat province, according to a Palace official.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said while he strongly condemns the killing of Wenefredo Oloferres in Surigao City, the incident has been described by authorities as “isolated.”

“The isolated killing of Board Member Oloferres notwithstanding, we can obviously see a vast improvement of the security situation in Mindanao,” said Nograles, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region13 or the CARAGA Region.

To show proof of the improving security situation in the south, Nograles said 396 communist New People’s Army (NPA) supporters from different Surigao del Norte towns have surrendered to authorities last week.

Of the number of rebel returnees, he said 244 surrendered in Malimono town while 152 yielded to authorities at the military camp in Sta. Cruz, Placer.

“The national government will definitely continue working towards translating these results into more economic activity and improved livelihoods for our constituents there. We are securely realizing the full potential and promise of Mindanao,” the former Davao City lawmaker said.

On the death of Oloferres, Nograles called on the Philippine National Police to hasten the investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to justice. He noted that the PNP has offered a P100,000 reward for information about the assailants of the local official.

“We’re closely coordinating with the families and the local government on how to address the aftermath of this shooting. We’ve been assured that this is an isolated occurrence,” he said.

Oloferres, who recently won a second term in the midterm elections, was driving his motorcycle Sunday morning when he was shot by unknown gunmen. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

This article was originally published on on July 8, 2019.

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