“We are all here to assure a safe, honest, orderly and secure elections in the Cordillera so that we will select the leaders for the next three years,” said Comelec Cordillera Assistant Regional Director Vanessa Roncal.
Roncal said the RJSCC is giving special attention to the province of Abra, which was declared by the Comelec as election hotspot under Red Category, the highest classification that “may warrant the motu proprio declaration of Comelec Control over the affected area, and the Comelec En Banc may direct the augmentation of personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the need arises.”
The inclusion of Abra in the election hotspot red category is attributed to the province’s long history of election- related violence due to intense political rivalries that even involved private armed groups of opposing politicians. There were also reports of alleged vote buying.
Police BGen. Israel Ephraim Dickson, Cordillera Police Regional Director informed that as part of security measures, the PNP continues to enforce strictly the Comelec check points which helps in the deterrent of criminal activities. Police visibility will be everywhere in Abra, he added.
Dickson said a component of the police elite Special Action Force will be deployed in the province to prevent or address election- related violence.
The AFP will be up on their toes to augment the police and focus their attention on the insurgents that may instigate terroristic activities.
Roncal reiterated that there is no approved security detail for political candidates and reminded the police not to give escorts to them.
The second meeting of the RJSCC was attended by the provincial election supervisors in the region, officers of the Police Regional Office-Cordillera and AFP, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Public Works and Highways and the Philippine Information Agency.
“We are here as a team to work hand in hand and expect the full cooperation of everyone,” Roncal said. (JDP/JBZ- PIA CAR)
By Joseph B. Zambrano