ILOILO – Thirteen municipalities have been identified as “election watch list areas” (EWAS) by the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO).
These towns are Maasin, New Lucena, Lambunao, San Enrique, Dingle, Anilao, Bingawan, Ajuy, Sara, Lemery, San Dionisio, Concepcion, and Estancia.
According to Superintendent Bonifacio Ancajas, IPPO deputy director for operations, “Ang basehan namin ay mayroon silang na-record na incidents last election.”
He was referring to the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14, 2018.
The EWAS towns were identified during yesterday’s Provincial Joint Command Conference at Casa Real (old provincial capitol) led by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office.
“Ang mga municipalities na lumabas during our workshop ay dapat mabantayan. Kung kailangan, magdagdag ng mga pulis sa mga areas na ito,” said Ancajas.
He hoped the number of EWAS won’t increase as the May 13, 2019 midterm elections draw near.
“As we go on with the monitoring of election-related incidents, it remains to be seen pero we hope na sana wala na,” said Ancajas.
He urged candidates and their supporters to keep the midterm elections peaceful.
Comelec has released the official calendar of activities for the upcoming national and local elections:
* Jan. 13, 2019 to June 12, 2019 – election period, gun ban
* Feb. 12, 2019 to May 11, 2019 – campaign period for senators and party-list groups
* March 30, 2019 to May 11, 2019 – campaign period for members of the House of Representatives and regional, provincial, city, and municipal officials
* May 12 to 13, 2019 – liquor ban
* May 13, 2019 – election day
* June 12, 2019 – deadline for filing of Statement of Contributions and Expenditures
Yesterday, the provincial Comelec activated the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC) to manage and implement Comelec resolutions related to the midterm elections such as the gun ban in coordination with the IPPO and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A command conference with 43 police chiefs and local election officers was also held yesterday, said provincial election supervisor Atty. Roberto Salazar.
In Metro Manila, Philippine National Police’s Director General Oscar Albayalde said 4,447 checkpoints were set up in strategic areas nationwide, which also resulted in the confiscation of 168 rounds of ammunition, seven bladed weapons, 22 gun replicas, 70 sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and two glass pipes with suspected marijuana.
“The first day of the election period may be considered generally peaceful yet it depicts that violent incidents may still occur due to the number of confiscated and seized firearms,” Albayalde told reporters during a press briefing at Camp Crame.
He said field reports from the Police Regional Offices continue to come in on the results of the first day of implementation of Comelec Resolution No. 10468, which provided guidelines on the establishment and operation of checkpoints for the mid-term polls.
Aside from the mandated responsibilities of the PNP as a deputized agency of the Comelec, Albayalde said they are also tasked to dismantle private armed groups, provide security to vulnerable candidates, accounting of loose firearms, and neutralize gun-for-hire and criminal gangs./PN