DILG to work with Comelec in securing hotspots amid attacks
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has vowed to work with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in securing election hotspots following spate of violence that resulted to deaths.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said Sunday they are considering politics and the upcoming 2019 midterm elections as possible motives for the attacks, including the brazen assassination of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe in Daraga, Albay.
“Hindi isinasantabi ng Kagawaran ang anggulo na may kinalaman ang paparating na halalan sa mga pamamaslang na ito. Kaya, katuwang ng Comelec at ilan pang ahensya ng pamahalaan, agad na tutukan natin ang mga maituturing na election hotspots sa bansa,” Año said in a statement.
He also ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to set-up checkpoints and install measures to prevent violence.
“Inaatasan natin ang PNP na magsagawa ng karagdagang check points at karagdagang security measures upang mapigilan ang ganitong mga insidente,” he said.
Based on Daraga police’s initial investigation, Batocabe and his security aide were shot Saturday afternoon by six gunmen who were waiting for them outside a charity event he attended. The victims were rushed to the hospital but were declared dead on arrival.
Also Saturday, a former Bukidnon mayor was killed in Cagayan de Oro City.
Elections in the Philippines have always been marred with violence. In 2009, the single-largest killing of mediamen occurred in Maguindanao, as supporters and relatives of a local candidate were on the way to submit a certificate of candidacy.
Earlier, Senator Nancy Binay asked Comelec to declare Albay an election hotspot to ensure people’s safety and peaceful conduct of the May 2019 elections.
Año then extended DILG’s condolences to the bereaved families.
“Nakikiramay ang Kagawaran sa pamilya ng mga naulila at kanilang mga taong pinaglilingkuran. Alinsunod sa kautusan ng Malacanang, puspusan ang Kagawaran at ang PNP sa imbestigasyon at pagtugis sa mga salarin at higit sa lahat sa masterminds sa likod ng pagpaslang na ito,” he said.
He also asked for help from other government agencies and the public in order to prevent such attacks from happening again.
“Naninindigan pa rin ang Kagawaran na ang mga isyu at problema tungkol sa seguridad ay nangangailangan ng whole-of-government approach at whole-of-nation initiative,” Año explained.
“Bukas ang Kagawaran sa pakikipagtulungan ng ating mga mamamayan upang maresolba at mapigilan ang ganitong uri ng karahasan. Binabalaan natin ang lahat ng may kinalaman sa mga insidenteng ito na hindi titigil ang DILG at PNP hanggang hindi nakakamit ng mga biktima ang hustisya,” he added. /kga
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