Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered all unit and area commanders to begin security preparations for the peaceful, honest, and orderly conduct of the elections in May next year, his office said.
In a statement released August 26, Eleazar said early security preparations have shown to be successful in avoiding election violence and other actions that may jeopardize the integrity of local and national elections.
“Kasabay ng mainit na usapan sa eleksyon sa susunod na taon, inatasan ko na ang lahat ng ating area commanders na umpisahan na ang paghahanda upang matiyak ang malinis at maayos na halalan sa ating bansa,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar said he has ordered the monitoring and accounting, not only of the PAGs or private armed groups, but loose firearms as well, that may be used to threaten and sabotage the conduct of the elections.
He said the focus on PAGs should be based on data from previous elections.
The PNP intelligence community and area commanders, he added, are expected to monitor and conduct a review on the presence of firearms with expired licenses and others in their respective areas of responsibility.
“Kasama sa paghahanda na dapat tutukan ng ating mga kapulisan ay ang monitoring at accounting, hindi lamang ng mga private armed groups kung hindi pati na rin ang mga loose firearms na maaring gamitin sa pananakot at pagsabotahe upang impluwensyahan ang resulta ng halalan,” he added.
In addition to his order for early security preparations, he stated that the PNP has already begun coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for election security in areas where armed groups, particularly the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, are active (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Eleazar said the CPP-NPA-NDF has been accused of extorting large amounts of money in return for access to regions where they are normally active. Money received from politicians in exchange for campaigning licenses also ensures that candidates are not hounded.
“We have to make sure that they will be denied this illegal activity, so it is really important that we start early to study and anticipate any threat to the elections next year,” Eleazar said.
The PNP chief earlier ordered commanders to help secure the voters’ registration of the Commission on Elections, especially when the poll body announced that it would extend the registration hours to 7:00 p.m. starting August 23.