PNP beefs up security in Abra as local campaigning kicks off
BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Police General Oscar Albayalde presided a command conference on Friday (March 29) at Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad to discuss security plans in the coming election.
The talks, in particular, tackled areas of concern including the province of Abra classified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as
an area of grave concern or under the red category.
Election violence has been a perennial problem in the area.
“Hopefully sana itong election na ito magkaroon ng zero incident doon sa province na yan. Probably sa next election sa 2022 hindi na mailagay sa hotspot ang Abra, kung makita talaga ng Comelec at ng taong bayan na hindi na talaga kailangang bantayan (sila),” Albayalde said.
(Hopefully this election the province will achieve the zero-incident target. Probably in the next election in 2022, Abra will no longer be named a hotspot. If the Comelec and the people will prove that there is no need for them to be guarded.)
Albayalde also ordered strict monitoring of the province of Kalinga specifically the town of Lubuagan where election-related cases were high in 2016.
The Police Chief directed his men to intensify the conduct of checkpoints and 24/7 patrol now that the local campaign period has started.
Based on the record of the Police Regional Office Cordillera, there are 10 areas of immediate concern; 28 are areas of grave concern while 38 are considered hotspots or under the yellow category.
Meanwhile, a total of 39 towns in the region are still not having any security threat.
“Pwede pang magbago ulit iyan so every time we have to re align our deployment,” Albayalde noted.
(That can change because every time we have to re-align our deployment.) – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)
Comelec to conduct voting simulation on October 23
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will conduct a voting simulation on Saturday (October 23) in preparation for the May 2022 national and local elections.
In a statement, the commission announced that the simulation of voting protocols will take place at San Juan Elementary School in San Juan City.
Comelec said the simulation will determine the average time frame in the verification of voters in the Election Day Computerized Voting List (EDCVL), in order to come up with proposals aimed to streamline the process of verification.
It also aims to identify other areas of concern or issues in the verification process, taking into consideration the minimum health and safety protocols.
It will also serve as a guide for the poll body to “devise measures that will decongest polling places and implement procedures that will ensure completion of the voting process in the shortest possible time.”
All participants will be required to wear face masks and face shields while inside the voting center and observe physical distancing and proper cough and sneezing etiquette at all times.
“While we definitely expect these health and safety protocols to impact voting hours and the number of voters that may be allowed to vote at a given time, we are confident that the activity will help up to streamline the overall voting experience,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.
Four classrooms will be used in the simulation that will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.—/mbmf
Comelec en banc to tackle calls to extend overseas voter registration
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc is set to discuss on Wednesday the recommendation to extend the overseas voter registration that ended on October 14.
Some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) said they still have not registered due to the limited days that they are free from work.
Senator Imee Marcos said many OFWs, particularly in Hong Kong and Macau who confused the deadline set for overseas voter registration with the deadline set for the voter registration in the Philippines which is October 30.
“Given the confusion brought about by COVID, the numerous extensions and difficulties in travel of our OFWs, I was urging the Comelec, and I reiterate this plea, that we extend at least two weekends in the most populous or the consulates with the most Filipinos.”
Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas, meanwhile, said they will have to discuss the matter in the next en banc session.
“Pag-uusapan namin kung kaya pa namin ii-stretch yung sa OFOV (Office for Overseas Voting). Stretched na stretched na po siya pero i-try pa rin namin, magandang idea ‘yun your honors na we will cater dun lang sa parang pinaka NCR nila, yung pinakamaraming na hindi pa nakapagrehistro,” Abas said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
Comelec targets at least 350K additional new voters from extended deadline of registration
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects to hit the target of additional 350,000 to 500,000 new voters with the extension of the deadline for voter registration to October 30.
To date, the country has registered 63.6 million Filipinos to qualify to vote in the coming elections. Around 6.1 million of whom are newly registered voters and 700,000 are reactivated voters, based on Comelec data from August 2019 to September 2021.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hopes to have more registration areas activated to reduce long lines in existing Comelec sites.
He also urged those who have yet to register not to wait for the last minute to do so.
Meanwhile, several senators support Comelec’s request to have the amount that was removed from their proposed budget be reverted.
Comelec said this will give more leeway for them to ensure safe elections in 2022 amid the continuing threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The budget recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the commission to use in 2022 is only Php26.7-billion from their original request of Php42-billion, which senators find too small.
“The Comelec budget is simply too small to COVID-proof the election. And if we say it is a high cost to bear, the price of a failed presidential election in these difficult times will be even more costly to the nation,” said Senator Imee Marcos.
Comelec said that reverting the fund to their original request will also ensure that teachers will be able to receive higher honoraria in rendering services during the elections.
Meanwhile, Comelec is set to conduct simulation activities for the 2022 elections on October 23. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)