POLICE have initially identified 32 towns and cities in Central Visayas as having previous incidents of “intense political rivalry.”
Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director, said the final list will be released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The official said he ordered more checkpoints to prevent movements of armed groups and other criminal elements who may be used by politicians in the May elections.
Gaerlan also encouraged police officials to initiate peace covenants among candidates to diffuse tension.
“We are advocating safe and peaceful elections. To be fair, they should not resort to violence,” he told reporters yesterday. “If the police officials cannot do it, they can invite, say, religious personalities or respected personalities in the community,” he added.
As of yesterday morning, 77 of the 126 police stations under PRO 7 had set up checkpoints.
Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, deputy regional director for operations, said stations are required to conduct at least one checkpoint a day.
He said they will check police stations that fail to do this and ask the chiefs to explain.
“If their explanation will not justify their failure, then they will face administrative investigation,” he said.
Gaerlan said they are beefing up preparations and mapping out contingency plans with the Comelec and the Armed Forced of the Philippines
Intelligence operatives are also gathering information to prevent the arrival or formation of private armed groups.
Gaerlan said the Comelec can only assign uniformed personnel as close-in security to candidates running for governor and higher elective posts.
A politician running for mayor or vice mayor can ask permission from Comelec for a private security.