Regular talks set among Abra politicos for peaceful polls
Sustained dialogues among politicians, religious and community leaders, and other stakeholders in Abra will contribute to the attainment of peaceful elections in the province, according to Police Regional Office-Cordillera Chief B/Gen. Ronald Lee.
Lee, during the Kapihan on Feb. 9, said the Abra Provincial Police Office had set a regular meeting with political candidates in areas with reported intense political rivalries and history of violence in the previous elections.
He said they are employing the diffusion management through community dialogues started by then Pro-Cor director now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong in Abra way back in 2013.
No recent tension among political rivals in the province was recorded by the Abra PPO, which the regional command hopes would continue during and after the May 2022 local and national elections.
At present, the political landscape in the Cordillera is generally peaceful compared to the other regions. Based on police observation, the various programs of the different stakeholders in the provinces contributed to the peace and order in the region.
“Mas peaceful ngayon. Marami nang pagbabago talaga,” Lee said.
He noted the continuing program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in the far-flung areas, most of which are known territories of the New Peoples’ Army, helped lower election-related incidences.
PRO-Cor has not monitored any presence of private armed groups (PAGs) in the region, as the command continuously monitors those previously associated with PAGs and those that are potential PAG members.
Earlier, 118 members of 21 potential PAGs have surrendered to the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police Intelligence Committee.
In terms of areas of concern, PRO-Cor records show there are 58 municipalities and one city included in the green category while 11 towns are listed in the yellow category with other six towns in the orange category and two in the red category.
Those in the green category are those areas without problem and without cause of concern while those in the yellow category are with history of political unrest. The orange category are those with presence of armed groups, and the red category are deemed as critical areas such as Tabuk City and Lubuagan, both in Kalinga.
Kalinga Provincial Police Director, Col. Peter Tagtag, Jr. said the two areas are included in the red category due to the ambush incident and precinct count optical scan machine snatching in 2013.
Tagtag said they are hoping to replicate the peaceful elections conducted in Kalinga in 2019 with the active participation of the local government unit. – Ofelia C. Empian