LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The province of Pangasinan has a new Provincial Police Office (PPO) officer-in-charge following the relief of Senior Supt. Rolie Saltat who headed tne Pangasinan PPO since June 3 last year.

PPPO information officer Supt. Ferdinand De Asis said in an interview that Saltat was subsequently replaced by Sr. Supt. Allan Okubo two days before the Jan. 10 start of the election period.

Before his present assignment, Okubo served as the head of the Intelligence Division at the Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) based in La Union

On the other hand, Saltat, according to De Asis, is now assigned at the Office of Regional Director at PRO1.

“The move was part of the PNP policy where an OIC can only stay for about six months. Within six months, the OIC has to be confirmed as permanent provincial director, otherwise, he has to be replaced,” explained De Asis.

Saltat has already reached the six-month tour of duty without his confirmation as permanent police director as he assumed as PPPO head on June 3, 2015.

No permanent police provincial director has ever been appointed in Pangasinan since 2010, which caused disappointment among provincial officials.

Provincial Board Member Alfonso Bince Jr. noted that the rigodon of PPO OICS is “disturbing, senseless, and ridiculous.”

“This practice dilutes and prostitutes the provisions of the Police Act which empowers a provincial governor to select a regular PNP director who will serve for two years,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, De Asis disclosed that some chiefs of police of different towns in the province, mostly those who have completed their tour of duty, were also reshuffled.

The towns with new chiefs of police include Mangaldan, Villasis, Manaoag, Sual, San Fabian, Balungao, Malasiqui, and San Carlos City.

The election period started on Jan. 10 until June 8 where the gun ban is in effect.

“Expect more police checkpoints daily in every town,” said De Asis.

He added that areas of concern in the province, based on Commission on Elections (Comelec) and PNP assessment , include Bayambang, Urbiztondo, San Carlos City, Infanta, Dagupan City, Bani, and Bolinao.

De Asis said the assessment was based on the recorded election-related violence in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 elections.

Pangasinan is the third most vote-rich province in the country with about three million population. PNA /