PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has ordered all 17 police Regional Directors (RDs) to supervise the final identification of all election watch list areas, partisan armed groups and guns-for-hire in their jurisdiction so that their presence could be fully addressed in order to ensure the holding of a safe, fair and secure 2019 mid-term elections, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
In a directive sent to all PNP RDs by PNP Director for Operations Director Ma-o R. Aplasca, the PNP chief also called for the identification of candidates vulnerable to attacks by their rivals or those who have been previously the target of foiled assassinations and those receiving constant death threats so that at least two security personnel can be assigned to them.
The order called on all RDs to supervise their Provincial Directors and Regional Intelligence Division chiefs in coming up with the final list of EWAs, PAGs, guns-for-hire as well as vulnerable candidates which will be used by the PNP leadership in finalizing their security and contingency plans for the May 2019 polls.
As required by the PNP leadership, all RDs must submit a list of municipalities and provinces in their areas of operations with intense political rivalries; the names of candidates-incumbent or not-who are considered as very likeable target of assassinations by their rivals and other enemies; candidates who have the tendency and potential to employ PAGs and guns-for-hire to eliminate their political opponents and intimidate voters as well as the areas where they are known to operate.
All RDs were also instructed to identify private individuals, government officials and employees as well as members of different law enforcement agencies including the PNP and the Armed Forces and the Commission on Elections who are known for their partisan politicking activities that would most likely affect the outcome of a fair and credible election in their areas.
At the same time, all concerned officials were ordered to identify candidates known for their affiliation or strong support to the communist New People’s Army and drug syndicates; those who are most likely to be supported by the CPP/NPA and drug syndicates; and areas where the NPA are most likely to impose and demand so-called ‘Permit-to-Campaign’ fees from candidates in exchange for unhampered campaigning.
Last week, Gen. Albayalde said they are watching a total of 7,926 barangays in 896 municipalities which have been identified as election areas of concern during the forthcoming 2019 mid-term polls.
These areas, the biggest number of them located in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao followed by Region 8 in Eastern Visayas and Region 7 in Central Visayas are being watched historically for election-related incidents and would be the subject of focus of different Regional Special Operations Task Groups, the PNP chief said.
RSOTGs and Provincial SOTGs will be mounting an aggressive campaign against partisan armed groups, guns-for-hire and loose firearms which could be used in the commission of crimes in these areas during the election period which will start on January 13 next year.