Cordillera regional body sets midterm polls security plan

Cordillera regional body sets midterm polls security plan

BAGUIO CITY–The Cordillera regional joint security coordinating council has set the security plan to ensure an orderly and peaceful 2019 midterm elections, an official announced Thursday.

“One of the prohibitions of course is the Comelec (Commission on Elections) gun ban which the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) committed to intensity implementation by the conduct of checkpoints,” said lawyer Julius Torres, Comelec-CAR regional director, after the first coordinating conference of the joint regional security council on January 10 here.

The conference presided by Comelec was attended by the personnel of the AFP, PNP and other stakeholders.

During the security council meeting, law enforcement agencies presented the peace and order situation in the region, the security concerns in the Cordillera provinces, lectures on gun ban, guidelines in the conduct of checkpoints, and about the local absentee voting.

Torres said the council agreed on the parameters in giving security details.

He said those who are running for congressman and governor will be allowed to receive security details from the police and military, while those running for other positions can get the services of private agencies but subject to permission by the Comelec.

On the issue of identifying the area of concern in the region, Torres said they will have to rely on the assessment of the AFP and PNP.

“It’s a common practice for us to rely with the assessment of our men in uniform and the military, Comelec is not equipped with know-how to assessing an area’s security situation being a civilian’s agency and the expertise lie on the AFP and the PNP who can guide the Comelec,” he said.

He said the AFP has its own parameters while PNP also has its own guidelines. Both agencies will assist the Provincial Joint and Security Coordinating Center in assessing their respective areas and submit a recommendation for inclusion in the watchlist or areas of concern.

Torres revealed that they are currently looking at Abra province’ inclusion in the 2019 election watchlist.

“Although the election is very dynamic, we are not discounting the fact that Abra can still be included in area of concern, but we still need further assessment,” he said.

He added that areas included in the watchlist will be provided with more law enforcers to fully address peace and security concerns.

“The problematic areas will be provided by additional police personnel to maintain peaceful and safe elections. For now, it’s still early to identify,” he said.  Pamela Mariz Geminiano