2,838 cops fielded as election inspectors
MANILA, Philippines — Some 2,800 policemen were trained to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) to prevent failure of elections in certain areas, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said on Sunday.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines assured the public that it was ready to secure the polls on Monday to ensure that voters freely exercise their right to suffrage.
“Elections must proceed in every precinct in the country and the PNP (Philippine National Police) is ready to be called to duty by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) if there are no available teachers to serve in some precincts,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement on Sunday.
Año said 2,838 policemen nationwide had been trained and ready to be deputized by the Comelec as BEIs if no teachers were available.
Almost half of them, or 1,032, are in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) due to possible election-related violence in the region.
“We do not want to take any chances during the elections especially since the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other factions still remain to be a peace and order issue in BARMM,” Año said.
Other policemen trained to render poll duty are in Northern Mindanao, Calabarzon, Caraga, Bicol, Davao, the Zamboanga Peninsula, Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Cordillera and Soccsksargen regions.
Año said the PNP had been placed on full alert and was prepared to ensure peaceful and orderly elections as nearly 150,000 officers were deployed nationwide for the polls.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson for the AFP, said the military was prepared and ready for the polls.
Arevalo said the AFP, tasked with supporting the PNP in securing the polls and tapped to ensure the delivery of election paraphernalia nationwide, had accomplished its tasks.
“The farthest islands in the country where there are voters will be able to cast their votes because their election paraphernalia are ready,” he said.
He said the military used ships and aircraft to transport the poll paraphernalia, along with troops on security detail.
Groups that may try to sabotage the democratic exercise “will not succeed,” Arevalo said.
“The degree of preparation, planning, execution and coordination with the PNP, the Comelec and other government agencies is very encouraging and we are confident that this will help us ensure the elections are orderly, peaceful and credible,” he said.
“We advise the public to not be afraid and to go out and vote. This political exercise is very important to us Filipinos,” Arevalo said, reminding all soldiers to remain nonpartisan and apolitical.
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said all jail facilities nationwide were ready to ensure that persons deprived of liberty were able to take part in Monday’s elections. —Jeannette I. Andrade
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