THE Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 deployed yesterday more than 1,400 cops to serve as part of the augmentation force in Siquijor, Bohol and Cebu for the elections on May 9.

Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., PRO 7 director, reminded his personnel to only use “necessary force” against personalities who get caught causing trouble.

“If they try to disrupt the elections, we will go after them,” he said.

Selected personnel from the PRO 7, National Support Units, Regional Training School and Regional Public Safety Battalion were pooled for the deployment.

Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, deputy regional directors for operations, said 50 cops were sent to the Siquijor Provincial Police Office, 490 to the Bohol Provincial Police Office and 940 to the Cebu Provincial Police Office.

Some 211 personnel were already sent in advance to their respective assignments early this week.

Stint duration

The Regional Joint Security Control Center included 22 municipalities and cities in the election watchlist of areas (Ewas) in Central Visayas.

In Cebu, included in the Ewas are San Francisco, Dumanjug, Tuburan, San Fernando, Medellin, Daanbantayan, Carmen and Bogo City.

Comendador described the upcoming elections as crucial because a new head of state will be chosen by the electorate.

“We have to keep in mind that it is very important for us to safeguard people’s will,” he said in his speech.

The troops will stay in their assignments for eight days and they were given an additional stipend of P1,000 on top of their regular allowance. Comendador said funds were also provided for police stations accommodating the additional personnel.

Chief Supt. Sheldon Jacaban, deputy regional director for administration, told the augmentation force to immediately inform their superiors if they encounter problems or threats in their assignments.

“Always make use of your common sense,” he said in his speech. “Do not fight all by yourself.”

The police official also warned them not to abandon their posts.