WITH the campaign for the proposed separation of Sitios Banawa and Englis from Barangay Guadalupe heating up, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is augmenting the Guadalupe police force during the March 13 plebiscite.
This, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded the contending parties to observe the rules on common poster areas and poster sizes for the plebiscite.
Speaking before a radio dySS forum in Guadalupe yesterday afternoon, Atty. Edwin Cadungog, south district election officer, said illegal posters will be removed.
“Place your posters only in Comelec-designated common poster areas. Those attached to trees or anywhere else can be removed,” he said.
Posters must not be larger than two by three feet, or the size of a cartolina sheet, while flyers should be larger than a legal or long bond paper.
He advised authorities, though, to be lenient when dealing with the plebiscite posters, saying the existing ones were likely made prior to the release of the guidelines.
The Comelec en banc approved last Wednesday the rules and regulations governing the plebiscite.
Section 4 of Resolution 8774 set the information campaign period for the plebiscite to start on Feb. 18, or last Thursday, and to end on March 11, 2010.
During this period, symposia, public rallies, discussions and debates to help the voters with plebiscite issues are expected to be held.
One such activity was held yesterday with Cadungog, Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south district), Senior Insp. Mario Monilar, Guadalupe barangay officials, and officials and members of the United Banawa Englis Association Inc. (UBEAI).
In an interview, Monilar, Guadalupe police chief, said he spoke with CCPO Director Patrocinio Comendador yesterday and was told of the need to augment the barangay’s police force.
He said he will meet with Comendador tomorrow to work on the details, particularly the number of additional personnel to safeguard the plebiscite.
“It is more for police visibility. It’s better to be always prepared,” Monilar said.
During the forum anchored yesterday by broadcaster Lloyd Suarez and aired over radio dySS, Guadalupe officials clarified their position on the talks that Banawa and Englis children will no longer be allowed to study in Guadalupe.
They also denied saying that the procession of the Our Lady of Guadalupe image would no longer reach the two sitios if the “yes” votes win.
“Dili kana tinood (That is false),” said Barangay Councilor Wilfredo Gallardo, who was with fellow Barangay Councilor Roberto Camu and Barangay Secretary Consuelo Go.
UBEAI president Antonio Dangcalan said they received similar reports from residents who were reportedly given the same warning.
That is why, he said, he was glad the barangay officials categorically denied issuing such threats.
Go, in particular, assured everyone that though Guadalupe officials are against the separation and will campaign for the “no” votes to win, they will not harass residents.
Camu said they, too, want to get the plebiscite over and done with, and that they will leave it up to the people whether or not they support the creation of a new barangay.
“Wala’y pinugsanay (No coercion),” he said.
During the plebiscite, the residents will be asked to answer “yes” or “no” to the question: “Do you approve of the creation of a new barangay to be segregated from Barangay Guadalupe, to be named as Barangay Banawa-Englis, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9905 approved on January 07, 2010 by her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?”
Cuenco, too, appealed for calm and sobriety, saying that while his vote is a yes, he will not try to influence anyone to also make the same choice.
“Ako dili mokampanya nga yes or no. Pero mobotar ako’g yes kay ako may nangamahan sa balaod…. Let us just respect each other’s opinion,” he said.
Cuenco authored RA 9905, or “An Act Creating a Barangay to be Known as Barangay Banawa-Englis in the City of Cebu.”