DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The conduct of the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election in all regions in the country is relatively peaceful and orderly.
This was the assessment made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as the elections closed at 3:00 P.M. on Monday, May 14.
In a press statement, Police Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, chief of the Public Information Office of PNP said the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) in Camp Crame was able to receive reports of isolated violent incidents before and during the conduct of elections.
NEMAC recorded 35 deaths and 27 injuries in 47 separate cases of violence since the election period commenced last April 14.
Of the 47 cases, Bulalacao said, seven were validated as election-related while the PNP is still investigating the other 40 cases of violence reported at NEMAC.
“Intensified police operations, mainly through police response, checkpoints, gun checks and search warrant operations led to the arrest of 1,350 persons for various offenses including vote-buying, violation of the 48-hour liquor ban, and possession of firearms, explosives, and bladed weapons,” Bulalacan said in the statement.
A total of 1,157 assorted firearms were also confiscated by the PNP, including the 7,926 rounds of ammunition, 79 grenades, and 350 explosives.
The PNP has mobilized around 181,212 uniformed personnel during the conduct of elections stationed at 73,562 polling centers, Bulalacao reported.
Quick reaction teams were also formed composed of members of Reactionary Standby Support Forces of the Police Regional Offices and the PNP National Headquarters, he added.
A total of 1,100 police personnel also served as members of the Board of Election Tellers (BETs) in Mindanao, particularly in the areas of Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
The members of BET is said areas failed to report to their duties mainly due to issues of safety and security.
Bulalacao said NEMAC continues to monitor the continuing election security operations of the PNP that remain in their posts until the culmination of the election activities and the complete pull-out of election personnel.
Successful election in Eastern Mindanao
Meanwhile, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also reported the successful conduct of the village and SK polls in the region.
In a statement on Tuesday, Eastmincom Chief Information Office Major Ezra Balagtey said the election in its area of coverage was generally peaceful despite the presence of the communists New People’s Army (NPA) in some areas where elections were being held.
The NPA presence, Balagtey said was a “violation of its self-declared ceasefire”, referring to the rebels’ presence in Agusan del Sur where they harassed a CAFGU Patrol Base in Sinacungan, Esperanza town at around 4 A.M on Monday, May 14.
The attack caused the delay of the polling activities in said barangay, Balagtey said.
An actual armed confrontation actually ensued between the NPA and government troopers, which lasted until 6:00 A.M. of the same day, a report from Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade said.
“The troops immediately restored normalcy and allowed the start of elections in the area a little bit late than the supposed time of opening,” Balagtey added.
No casualties were reported on the side of government forces as EAstmincom believes a number of the engaged NPA guerillas were wounded during the encounter.
During the clearing operations, government troops were able to recover one M16 rifle and one M203 grenade launcher with an amputated index finger.
Government forces belonging to 66th Infantry Battalion also prevented an NPA attack on Monday in Barangay Manurigao, New Bataan, Compostela Valley, Balagtey said.
The troopers were able to recover an M16 Rifle and an M14 Rifle in the area, he added.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. commended the army troopers in the area for their vital role in keeping the village and SK polls relatively peaceful and orderly.
He also attributed the successful conduct of elections to the effective coordination among government agencies, including the PNP and the AFP. (davaotoday.com)