The Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) on Friday said the first day of the local campaign period for the May 2019 midterms polls was “generally peaceful.”
PPCPO director Police Colonel (PCOL) Marion Balonglong said no election-related untoward incident has been reported in the city “so far”.
“Wala pang reported na insidente na nangyari [at] sana magtuluy-tuloy. Pero before pa nagsimula ‘yong campaign period ng local is tuluy-tuloy ‘yong coordination namin sa Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and sa ating other law enforcement agencies including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the area para sa magiging peaceful and orderly election,” said Balonglong.
Balonglong said they have made themselves prepared for any possible public disturbance the supporters of the candidates may cause.
In an interview earlier today with the City COMELEC, election assistant II Maimona M. Bagani said while they are hearing about vote buying issues, their office has not received any formal report or complaint yet from anyone.
“Ngayon wala pa tayong naririnig, medyo lie-low pa siguro ‘yong mga kandidato. Wala pa rin po tayong nare-receive na any report or complaint [galing] sa kanila… kailangan natin ng matibay na ebidensya, mag-bigay sila ng formal complaints [with proof],” said Bagani.
Based on COMELEC Resolution No. 10429 issued in October last year, the campaign period for the local candidates such as governors down to municipal councilors and district representatives is from March 29 to May 11, 2019.
Balonglong noted that aside from Barangay Bancao-Bancao where they once seized an illegal firearm during the conduct of a checkpoint, all the city barangays can be considered peaceful.
Balonglong encouraged the public to be vigilant and to report to their office any election or non-election related incident that needs police assistance.
“Continuos na nagmo-monitor ‘yong mga tao natin para kung meron mang [problema sa mga barangay] ay ma-pre-empt natin ‘yong mga possibility na magkaroon ng gulo. Sana po ‘yong mga kababayan nating mga taga-Puerto Princesa kapag may na-obserbahan na medyo taliwas o di kaya ay hindi kanais-nais na gawain kahit hindi pa pang-eleksyon ay i-report kaagad sa police, sa barangay tanods, o kaya [naman ay] sa mga kinauukulan para maaksyunan natin kaagad,” said Balonglong.
Guidelines on campaign materials
Meanwhile, Bagani said the City COMELEC is urging all candidates to strictly follow the guidelines for the sizes of campaign materials and the designated locations where they are only allowed.
This is after their joint team with the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) implemented the second leg of the “Oplan Baklas” to remove campaign materials that were posted in prohibited areas.
“Nakita natin sa mga public buildings, nakalagay doon sa Children’s Park marami tayong nakita… then ‘yong sa [mga] puno. Doon sa mga kandidato, para hindi naman nasasayang ang ating mga campaign materials [at] mga campaign ads [ay] ilagay po natin sa tamang lalagyan, tapos sundin natin ‘yong tamang size,” she said.
The joint operation went around Barangays San Pedro, Tiniguiban, Manalo, and San Miguel, including the streets of Abanico, Malvar, and Roxas.
The prescribed maximum size for all posters and tarpaulins, regardless of orientation is 2×3, while the pamphlets must be 8.5×14. They must not be tied around the trees or nailed on them.
Bagani said their Oplan Baklas did not remove the campaign materials that were found hanging on the walls or fences of private properties.
“Ang order sa amin doon gagawa muna kami ng report, bibigyan namin sila ng notice na sila mismo ‘yong magbaklas. Within three days dapat mabaklas nila ‘yon otherwise COMELEC na ang gagawa para sa kanila,” said Bagani.