With the Barangay elections less than three weeks away, Department of the Interior and Local Government OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano is directing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify the conduct of regular checkpoints and other security measures in all election hotspots throughout the country.
“As the elections are drawing near, we expect that the political tension in the barangays will increase, especially among the candidates and their supporters. I therefore call on the PNP to conduct regular checkpoints and maintain police visibility as part of the measures to prevent election violence during the election period,” says Ano.
“The responsibility of ensuring a safe and peaceful environment where citizens will be able to exercise their right to vote lies primarily on the shoulders of the police. Let us prove that democracy is still working in our country by ensuring a safe, secure and orderly barangay and SK elections,” he urges the PNP.
The DILG Secretary issued the directive in support of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the performance of its duties and functions in the coming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14, 2018.
Last Friday, President Durterte signed Memorandum Order 21 in concurrence with Comelec Resolution 10207, which deputized the military and police to ensure “the free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible conduct” of the village polls. The Constitution requires the President, as the military and police commander-in-chief, to concur with Comelec in the use of military and the PNP during elections.
The DILG Chief said that the PNP should focus and deploy more personnel to areas in the country which have a history of election-related violent incidents (ERVIs).
Earlier, the PNP has included 5,744 barangays nationwide on its elections watchlist of areas, excluding those from Metro Manila.
Of this number, 2,025 barangays belong to Category 1 where the rivalry among candidates is intense, there is a history of election-related violence, and private armed groups (PAGs) are present.
Meanwhile, 3,448 barangays are in Category 2, where there is intense rivalry among candidates, a history of election-related violence, and PAGs and armed threats are present. In Category 3 are 271 barangays, where all critical factors exist, including the proliferation of loose firearms and the activities of criminal gangs.
According to the PNP, 182 barangays in ARMM, 48 in Bicol, and 37 in Soccsksargen belong to Category 3.
Ano says the PNP should also be on the lookout for undocumented and unlicensed firearms as the gun ban has already started last April 14 and will last until June 14.
“The President needs allies in the barangays to lead the campaign against crime, illegal drugs and corruption. Let us make this happen on May 14 and make sure that our people will be secure and safe as they go out and vote for barangay leaders who will make change happen in the barangays,” he says.