BACOLOD City – “Very peaceful. It ended with no election-related violent incident.”
This was how the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) described Monday’s midterm polls.
Not a single election-related violence in the province, according to Colonel Romeo Baleros, police provincial director.
The conduct of the polls was “generally peaceful, secure and honest,” he added.
Other than reports on alleged vote-buying, long voters’ queues, power interruption, and malfunctioning vote-counting machines, there were no major disturbances, said Baleros.
Even in Moises Padilla town, considered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as “hotspot” or area of grave concern, the residents were able to vote freely and the winners were known before midnight, according to the Army officer.
Moises Padilla, which was put under Comelec control on May 6, was placed under Category Red due to election-related incidents in the past two elections and intense political rivalry, on top of a serious armed threat posed by the New People’s Army and other lawless elements.
Five days before the elections, President Rodrigo Duterte visited the central Negros town to hold a security meeting with top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army in Western Visayas.
On election day, Lieutenant General Fernando Mendez Jr., PNP deputy chief for administration, came to Negros Occidental and met with police and Army officials in Bacolod City and Moises Padilla to ensure that the poll security plan is being implemented properly in the province.
Baleros expressed his appreciation to the police units who guarded the polling centers for “almost 72 hours”.
He also thanked the Comelec and Armed Forces of the Philippines for their collaboration with the Negros Occidental police to ensure the conduct of peaceful and credible elections in the province. (PNA)