AN OFFICIAL of the Northern Mindanao Police Regional Office (PRO) said they are mulling gathering local candidates, especially those in areas considered election hot spots, for a covenant signing to secure candidates’ commitment to bring about fair, safe, and secure elections.

Police Supt. Gervacio Balmaceda, PRO spokesperson, said the covenant signing is part of measures already in place to ensure that the upcoming 2016 elections, and all activities leading to the polls, are safe and secured.

Balmaceda said police units have also been directed to be on alert to prevent election-related violence as activities leading to the 2016 polls heat up with the start of the filing of Certificates of Candidacies (COCs) on Monday, October 12.

Balmaceda said police visibility will be heightened beginning Monday.

Balmaceda said they have already taken note of areas of concern and have been assessing and validating threats regarding election-related violence.

“Meron nang mga threats bawat areas and we are monitoring these areas kasali na ang mga crime prone areas during election,” Balmaceda said.

Areas of immediate concern include Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, he said.

Balmaceda said they have also identified election hot spots and are closely monitoring opposing parties.

He said police are also closely monitoring armed groups associated with certain candidates and said authorities will ensure that these groups do not engage in any politically-related activities. (Alwen Saliring)