By Floreño G. Solmirano
LEGAZPI CITY, Aug. 11 (PNA) — First, the bad news: Chief Supt Victor P. Deona, Philippine National Police Bicol regional director, will be leaving his post soon.
And now the good news: Deona will be reassigned upward to Camp Crame as head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
No less than Police Director Gen. Ricardo B. Marquez, PNP chief, broke the news in a press conference held at the Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola here at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Pressed by a question of a mediaman on his plan for Deona, Marquez, with all praises for Deona, said he could not find any other officer who has the capability and experience as those of the latter, his classmate at the Philippine Military Academy Class ’82.
“He will be the little PNP chief,” the PNP director general said.
He said the choice of Deona was not based on his being a mistah, nor his mere impression of the Bicol police chief, but on the latter’s accomplishments and impressive records as a police officer.
“Our problem, however, is who will replace him as Bicol police director. We are still ‘cloning’ his replacement to be like him. There are plenty of programs in the Bicol police regional office that should be continued,” the PNP chief said.
Asked for comments on the solicited announcement of his moving up to Crame, Deona said he is gladly taking the challenge of being the CIDG head.
Honestly, he said, after the assumption into office of Marquez as police director general, he found time to talk to him in private and offered his support.
“In any capacity, I’ll support you all the way. I’m at your disposal,” Deona recalled telling the PNP chief.
Mediamen and others present notice that the two officers and gentlemen have many things in common, among them being simple, straightforward and performance oriented.
Deona, who is known as a man of few words but with iron fists, has been well-loved by the Bicolanos for his no-nonsense performance of his duties since he was still a low-ranking officer yet up to his being the Bicol regional police director.
He imposes strict discipline among his men but very liberal in giving rewards and full support to those desrving.
He has been tagged as the “berdugo” (buster) of illegal activities like illegal gambling, illegal drugs and illegal fishing.
Since his assumption into the Bicol police leadership two years ago, his office has pounced hard, especially on illegal fishing.
In their intensified and sustained campaign against this socio-economic cancer, his men and other law enforcers in the region have arrested 2,698 fishermen engaged in the illegal practice and seized 64 fishing vessels and other paraphernalia since 2013 to the present.
The PNP Bicol head said at least 2,027 persons engaged in illegal fishing in various coastal waters in Bicol were arrested and jailed last year while 627 were registered in 2013.
He said his men have filed cases against the suspects and these are now under court litigation in Masbate and Sorsogon provinces.
Those affected by his moves fought back in anonymity and accused him of being in the Php4.3-million monthly payola in illegal fishing.
Deona vehemently denied the accusation and immediately asked the National Police Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation for a through investigation of the alleged illegal fishing payola in Bicol.
“We don’t doubt the integrity of Gen. Deona, and this unfounded accusation is definitely being orchestrated by illegal fishers and their political allies who are hurt by the strict implementation of the country’s Fisheries Code in Bicol seas,” Vince Cinches, Greenpeace oceans campaigner, said.
The Bicol Region is notorious for rampant illegal commercial fishing, where large vessels encroach on municipal waters that are exclusive to small-scale fishermen, and Deona is instrumental in curbing the massive illegal fishing in the region, Cinches said.
Mar Guidote, Ecofish project enforcement specialist, also vouched for Deona’s integrity as one in the forefront of anti-illegal fishing campaign.
“I personally vouch for the integrity of General Deona, as he has been at the forefront of anti-illegal fishing since 2001 in his capacity as the provincial director, and we have reasons to believe that a group of illegal fishers coming from outside the Bicol Region is behind the demolition job,” Guidote said.
He commended Deona for his persistent and unwavering efforts to protect the seas and small fisherfolk of Bicol by going strongly against all forms of illegal fishing activity in the region.
Napolcom Bicol Regional Director Rodolfo Santos Jr. lauded Deona’s remarkable accomplishment in Bicol for his fearless campaign against illegal fishing, illegal drug, illegal logging, illegal numbers game, loose firearms and many others, despite lack of sophisticated equipment.
Rep. Fernando Gonzalez (Albay, 3rd District) has commended Deona for his honesty and strong will in fighting against powerful illegal fishing operators in Bicol, specifically in the Burias Pass and Albay West Coast area, covering Albay and Masbate, now being sought to be declared as seascape to protect the biodiversity there.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo said Deona’s accomplishments on illegal fishing cannot be questioned as the Bicol top cop has done a remarkable task to get rid of big-time commercial fishers despite lack of equipment.
When he was the provincial director of Masbate and headed the Special Task Force Masbate (STFM) in 2010, Deona was able to compel warring political clan and powerful local politicians to surrender their loose firearms.
A cache of loose high-powered firearms were surrendered by these people and other powerful politicians of Masbate.
Deona has been a well-known straight, strict and highly respected police official among his peers down to the non-commissioned police officers owing to his remarkable supervision and accomplishments that has made the PNP Bicol office as number one regional police office in the country. (PNA)