POLICE authorities in Eastern Visayas region said they will monitor organized crime groups, including the New People’s Army (NPA), that might spread violence during the barangay elections next month.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Director Elmer Soria said that as part of the preparations for the upcoming elections, they will strengthen partnership with the Philippine Army.
“Just like the May 2013 midterm elections, we will be working closely with the military in various security operations to ensure a peaceful barangay polls,” Soria said.
He said the effort includes the establishment of joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-PNP checkpoints, campaign against loose firearms, and neutralization of most wanted persons, including members of the NPA.
He said that although the barangay election is different from the national polls, they do not want to disregard any possibilities that might happen during the voting.
He said authorities in Eastern Visayas have mapped out security measures that would be enforced during the polls.
Earlier, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the region said that political rivalries in the upcoming elections are expected to be more intense and personal, since opponents are usually neighbors and even relatives.
Soria said the PNP, along with concerned agencies, has started to identify election hotspots, as well as monitor and neutralize private armed groups.
A task force will also be activated to look into the proliferation of loose firearms and dismantle the private armed groups in line with the Comelec rules.
He added that there will be a 45-day Comelec gun ban, which will take effect on September 30, or 30 days before and 15 days after the polls. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)