PNP starts preparing for 2022 polls
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar ordered on Thursday all unit commanders to get an early start in their preparation for a peaceful general election next year by tightening their monitoring of private armies and communist rebels.
“It is really important that we start early to study and anticipate any threat to the elections next year,” Eleazar said.
According to the PNP, early security preparations were found to be effective in preventing election violence and other activities that would compromise the integrity of the national elections on May 9, 2022.
In a statement, Eleazar said he wanted to focus on the presence of armed groups, including members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which the PNP has accused of extorting “permit-to-campaign fees” from politicians as assurance that their candidates will not be harassed during campaign season.
He earlier warned candidates who would give in to the demand money by the NPA that they would be violating several laws, including the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The CPP-NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were designated terrorist groups by the Anti-Terror Council.
Eleazar also ordered the police to check the presence of firearms without licenses and those with expired permits.
The election period officially starts on Jan. 9, 2022.
However, Sept. 1 marks the start for political parties to select and nominate their official candidates for all elective positions. By Oct. 1, the Commission of Elections (Comelec) shall accept filing of certificates of candidacy and certificates of nomination and acceptance of those who wish to run for the 2022 elections.
The tentative list of candidates that would appear on official ballots will be released on Oct. 29.
Candidates vying for national posts are scheduled to start their campaign on Feb. 8, 2022, while campaign period for those running for local posts starts on March 25, 2022.
Comelec said overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have previously registered as overseas voters but now want to vote in the country have until Aug. 31 to transfer their records back to the Philippines.
OFWs who expect to be abroad during the April 10, 2022, to May 9, 2022, overseas voting period have until Sept. 30 to register as overseas voters.
More than 700,000 OFWs have been repatriated since February last year, most of them displaced by the global economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. —WITH A REPORT FROM DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN
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