16,166 gov’t forces to secure May 9 polls in Calabarzon
LUCENA CITY–-Government peace-keeping forces composed of 16,166 personnel have been tasked to maintain peace and order in the Calabarzon region in the May 9 elections.
“Let us all respect and preserve the democratic rights to suffrage of the citizens of this country,” Police Region 4A director Brigadier General Antonio Yarra said Wednesday during the send-off for security forces for the 2022 elections at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba City.
The regional police information office stated that the security forces were composed of police, military, fire, and Coast Guard personnel.
Officials of the Commission of Elections (Comelec), Department of Education in Region 4A; and representatives from the police, military, and other concerned government agencies attended the ceremony.
Lawyer Rafael Olaño, Comelec Region 4A director, urged stakeholders “to work for and show everyone that in this corner of the world, democracy is alive and strong.”
Olaño said the primary goal in the deployment of government forces is to “ensure that the VCM (vote-counting machines), ballots, and other paraphernalia will be able to reach respective areas and be used by the voters.”
“We hope our teachers and polling workers will arrive safely to polling centers and go home secured, too,” he said.
Olaño added: “Ensure that every voter would have cast their votes, free from violence and intimidation. Let us also ensure that those who win the elections won because their constituents voted for them.”
Comelec data shows that Calabarzon has 9,193,096 registered voters.
At least 30 areas in Calabarzon have been identified as election areas of concern (former hot spots), according to the police.
Election areas of concern are categorized into green, yellow, orange, and red.
Of the 142 localities in the region, 23 are under the yellow category, seven under orange, and 112 under green.
Green areas are generally peaceful for the conduct of elections.
Yellow areas, also called “areas of concern,” refer to places where poll-related violence happened in the past two elections.
Orange areas, or “areas of immediate concern,” have a recorded presence of armed groups, including the New People’s Army, which may disrupt the peaceful conduct of elections.
Red areas, or “areas of grave concern,” must be placed under the control of Comelec, which may direct the deployment of additional police and military personnel, if necessary.
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