PNP lists Abra, Masbate as ‘perennial’ election hotspots
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde on Monday said that they are looking at the provinces of Abra, Masbate, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte as possible election hotspots.
“Just to give you an idea, always, perennial na nasa (list) natin is Abra, Masbate, ‘yan ang mga perennial natin. Ngayon, part of Mindanao, Lanao, ‘yong Zamboanga del Norte, ‘yon ang mga nakikita natin,” Albayalde said during his briefing at Camp Crame.
“Pero hindi ito top five. Ito ‘yong sinasabi natin na perennial na nandyan, na hindi nawawala tuwing eleksyon. Ilalabas natin ‘yong final siguro after the filing of (certificates of) candidacy,” he added.
Elections in the Philippines have always been marred by acts of violence, especially in provinces where political dynasties vie for power. In November 2009, more than 50 people in a convoy on their way to deliver a certificate of candidacy were massacred in Maguindanao.
According to Albayalde, the police have been working with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure that the upcoming 2019 midterm elections would be peaceful and credible.
“Even before the PNP is officially deputized by the Comelec to assume election duties for the upcoming May 2019 midterm elections, we already made concrete initiatives to proactively respond to the policy direction set by President Rodrigo Duterte,” he explained.
Based on PNP data, since August, 82 gun-for-hire syndicate members and 47 members of private armed groups (PAGs) have been killed. At least 35 firearms were confiscated from gun-for-hire groups, and 19 different firearms from PAGs.
“Focused intelligence operations are now being directed against 77 active PAGs, with 2,071 members believed armed with an estimated 1,582 firearms. A large majority of these active PAGs operate in the ARMM,” Albayalde said.
“We are also monitoring activities of 217 other groups that have the potential of being utilized as PAGs by some politicians,” he added. /cbb
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