The new OIC director of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, Senior Supt. Mariano Natuel Jr., yesterday said he will give his best efforts in addressing criminality in the province, especially on illegal drugs that is his number one priority.

Natuel replaced Supt. Alet Virtucio, who had served as OIC for more than seven months, at rites attended by Gov. Roel Degamo, Vice Governor Mark Macias, Jess Cañete of the Commission on Human Rights, and other PNP and provincial officials.

He also vowed to give full attention to the spate of killings in Dumaguete City and other parts of the province, majority of which are related to the illegal drugs problem, the police said.

Natuel said he hopes to gain the trust and confidence of Negrenses as he takes on his first assignment as provincial police director. He used to be the police director of Cebu City and then Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu province.

He said he still does not have marching orders for his men as he has yet to familiarize himself with his newest assignment, and held his first command conference with police chiefs and other unit commanders at Camp Fernandez in Agan-an, Sibulan town, yesterday.

But he said that Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, regional director of the PNP in Region 7, ordered him to minimize shooting incidents, increase the number of wanted persons arrested, and loose firearms confiscated.

Degamo said his first order for Natuel is to assume all the responsibilities he previously gave to Virtucio, especially in maintaining peace and neutrality on the black sand mining controversy in Tanjay City.

He promised full support to Natuel in the fight against all forms of criminality. “I believe that with your capabilities, you will be able to effectively lead our police force,” the governor told Natuel.

Degamo also thanked Virtucio for having effectively carried out his responsibilities, and his invaluable contribution for the successful implementation of various government programs that helped a lot to attain lasting peace in Negros Oriental.

He noted though, that there are still other areas of concern that need the attention of the police.

Degamo, assisted by Fernando Martinez of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council, presented a commendation to Virtucio for his help in combating the illegal drugs problem in Negros Oriental.*JFP