Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Teachers' safety priority in election security plans

SunStar File

PUBLIC school teachers who will serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) will be given safety priorities by the joint forces of security officials in Northern Mindanao region.

This and many other election security topics were discussed by officials of the army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), Northern Mindanao police and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during a meeting convened on Monday, April 15, to iron out security preparations to ensure a peaceful and safe midterm elections.

The joint coordinating conference held at Camp Alagar, Lapasan tackled the respective plans as part of the overall security plan to ensure that the 1.7 million voters in the region will safely exercise their right to vote on May 13.

BEIs from the Department of Education (DepEd) and the ballot boxes to and from the voting precincts, securing that there is enough supply of electricity and the logistics needed for the success of the election process, were also tackled.

Comelec-Northern Mindanao director lawyer Wilfred Jay Balisado said they are confident that with the collaborative efforts of the poll body, police, military and other stakeholders, the conduct of elections will be successful and peaceful.

"Preparations are going well. We know the job for so long and the election should be taken seriously. There is no time to relax," Balisado said.

"Just like in 2016 we will strive (to maintain peace) so that there will be no failure of elections this 2019," he added.

Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4ID commander, said the government troops will fully support the police, Comelec and Deped for the orderly polls.

Gacal also said the combat mode will continue so that the New People’s Army (NPA) and other threat groups will not be able to take advantage of the situation.

"Intelligence gathering and monitoring will be intensified especially on the permit to campaign (PTC) and permit to win (PTW) scheme of the communist New People’s Army terrorists. We therefore discourage the candidates to entertain such idea since these run contrary to the desire of the President when he signed the Executive Order 70 that established the National Task Force to end local communist armed insurgency (NTF-Elcac)," Gacal said.

Gacal, who chairs the ad hoc committee of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC), asked politicians and candidates not to give in to the demands of the NPA through the PTC and PTW.

"Let us have an honest, free and peaceful election in order for the newly elected officials to uphold the peace and development efforts of the government," Gacal said. (Alwen Saliring)


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