POLICE preparations to ensure a safe and secure 2019 mid-term polls have started a few months ago with all 17 police regional offices already ordered to launch measures that will prevent poll-related violence next year, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde told the Journal Group.
“Security for the 2019 polls actually started a few months back. I have already ordered all my regional directors to look at the security personnel of incumbent politicians and see to it that the maximum two bodyguards per politician under the so-called Alunan Doctrine will be observed to the hilt,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he will order the PNP and the Armed Forces to establish checkpoints nationwide and to limit the number of candidates’ security guards and firearms to two, as he promised the country “clean and honest 2019 elections.”
“I will limit the firearms to only two. Uniformed security, dalawa lang,” the President said during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) leadership assembly in Pasay City.
“You must surrender your excess firearms. Do not go around in excess of about two. But we will assign every candidate ng security, pero wala talaga ‘yang terrorism-terrorism na ‘yan,” the former Davao City mayor said while vowing to preserve and protect the public interest during the mid-term elections, and prohibit intimidation and vote-buying.
“It will be clean. The votes will be cast and will be counted correctly,” Duterte said as he noted that everyone, regardless of political party, should be treated fairly. The President said the order also goes to the members of the PDP-Laban, as no one is exempted.
Gen. Albayalde said their proactive measures include the stepped-up implementation of Oplan: Sita and Oplan: Bakal and the ongoing crackdown against partisan armed groups and guns-for-hire across the country.
He particularly cited the Police Regional Office 4-A headed by Chief Superintendent Edward E. Carranza for making a huge dent in the campaign against PAGs and professional hitmen in the country after smashing a number of known guns-for-hire and private armed groups operating in Calabarzon region since last month.
Nearly a dozen armed suspected guns-for-hire-turned members of organized crime groups in Calabarzon region have been killed in gunbattles with PRO4-A officers in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon over the past few weeks. Those anti-criminality operations also led in the seizure of dozens of unlicensed high-powered firearms and live ammunition.
Gen. Albayalde said all police security preparations are in place to ensure the safety of the general public during the start of the ‘ber’ months leading to the holiday season with authorities on a mission to prove that they have already stopped an increase on crimes particularly against persons during the season.
“Hopefully, masira na talaga natin ang trending na pag ber months na eh tumataas ang krimen lalo na crimes against property,” the PNP chief said as he assured that the intensity of their anti-crime operations in Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be the same as the ‘ber’ month officially started two weeks ago.
The PNP chief has ordered heightened patrols in so-called ‘soft targets’ including shopping malls, airports, seaports, public markets, bus terminals and other public utility areas as well as churches and other places of worship as part of the PNP security measures during the ‘ber’ months.
Following the two bombings in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat which killed five persons and injured 36 others, Gen. Albayalde placed all Mindanao police regional units under full alert status and the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar under heightened status.
He also ordered all his intelligence units to further intensify their monitoring of suspected terror groups in their areas. “I have instructed my commanders to step-up their conduct of checkpoints and chokepoints and our Oplan: Sita and Oplan: Kapkap to arrest the presence of persons carrying illegal firearms, explosives and other dangerous weapons specifically in places of convergence,” he said.
The PNP chief likewise directed his field commanders to ensure that their target-hardening measures are in place and implemented round-the-clock apart from maximizing the deployment of uniformed police officers in all crowded areas and other facilities which are vulnerable to terror and criminality attacks.
Eleazar said he is giving instructions to his subordinate commanders in Metro Manila to maximize their police presence as the holidays start approaching.