LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A total of 100 policemen from the Police Regional Office-Cordillera will replace colleagues trained to serve as members of the special electoral board for the Oct. 30 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
PRO-Cor Director B/Gen. David K. Peredo Jr., in a briefing on Oct. 19 at the sidelines of the 122nd Police Service Anniversary celebration, said the augmentation force is scheduled to travel to Abra on Oct. 23.
Data from the Commission on Elections Abra show that 55 policemen are needed as replacement in voting precincts where teachers withdrew from poll duties because of security issues.
Specifically, nine policemen will serve in the capital Bangued, 23 in Bucay, six in Lagangilang, three in Lagayan, and 14 in Pilar.
Of the total 91 policemen who have been trained for poll-related job, 36 are standby electoral board members.
Peredo said members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will also be sent to Abra, but was not told of the number.
He said authorities do not see the need to place Abra under Comelec control or to revive Task Force Abra, which in the past elections has been in control of the situation, because law enforcement in the area is still effective despite election-related incidents.
“The local police will manage the situation and there is no need to send more troops,” Peredo added.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda, during the same briefing, said the Abra Provincial Police Office has been given the authority to manage the peace and order situation in the province.
He said the PNP has come up with a system that lets the local police manage their respective areas and to only elevate the issue to the provincial or the national level if needed.
He also highlighted the need to ensure that people will be able to freely exercise their right to vote as a manifestation of a democratic system.
“We want an election that is void of any influence by any higher official, with the people given the right to select their candidate,” he said. – PNA