June 21, 2024

The Joint Regional Security Control Center Command (JRSCCC) in the Cordillera said the region remains peaceful over a month before the elections.
Col. Elmer Ragay, chief of regional staff of the Police Regional Office-Cordillera, said “Cordillera remains generally peaceful but we are not putting our guards down. We are continuously monitoring the situation in the different areas in the region.”
A copy of the report given by the PRO-Cor to local media shows that from the start of the election period on Jan. 9 until March 27, no election-related violence were recorded in the Cordillera.
“There were no monitored or reported private armed groups (PAGs), criminal gang members, and gun for hire,” Ragay said.
However, a police report showed there were 13 persons arrested for violation of the election gun ban while 13 firearms were confiscated.
It added on the first week of March, a candidate running for the provincial board in Mountain Province was killed but the incident was traced to a land dispute and not related to the elections.
Ragay added “there was no incident involving elected government officials.”
“We are continuously monitoring all areas, especially those with possibilities of election-related incidents due to intense political rivalries or the areas which have historical incidents of election-related violence,” he said.
Ragay said in Abra, they are looking at the capital town of Bangued and Lagayan as areas that must be closely watched by the police.
In Kalinga, they are closely monitoring the towns of Tinglayan, Rizal, Lubuagan, Pasil, Balbalan, and Tabuk City as areas with possibility of election-related incidents, he said.
Brig. Gen. Santiago Enginco, commander of the Philippine Army’s 503rd Infantry Brigade, said as part of the campaign for a peaceful election, they conduct joint operations with the Philippine National Police especially in far-flung communities with low law enforcement deployment which could be influenced by the terrorist groups.
“We have no PAGs but we have the New People’s Army, which could become PAGs,” he said.
Enginco said they are vigilant against attempts of communist terrorist groups to impose permit-to-campaign fees on candidates.
Atty. Ederlino Tabilas, regional director of the Commission on Elections-Cordillera and chair of the JRSCCC, said “I am confident we are in a stage where we can say we can have a peaceful, clean, and safe election.” – PNA