PNP beefs up security in Abra as local campaigning kicks off

Marje Pelayo   •   March 29, 2019   •   1135

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 looks into longer voting hours for 2022 election

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday (January 20) said it is looking into having longer voting hours for the 2022 elections.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, during a Senate hearing, said the agency is mulling over possible election adjustments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the options include extending the election up to three days while the other option is to have longer voting hours.

Jimenez raised concerns over the having the election last for two to three days.

“Medyo wary kami sa two to three days of election (We are a bit wary of extending the election for two to three days ). Comelec is actually tending towards longer elections hours. Nakikita po natin sa ibang bansa, especially iyong malalaking elections (We saw in other countries, especially those with big elections), they do have elections that last for up to 12 hours,” he said.

“As far as the two to three days of elections, there’s been a lot of concern about that, there’s a lot of worry of what happens at night, I suppose,” he added.

Comelec is also planning to increase polling places to limit the number of voters per precinct and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, Comelec said they would need bigger venues and additional personnel to ensure health protocols are followed.

Early voting for the vulnerable sectors, which include senior citizens, is also being looked into by Comelec.

Jimenez added they are also looking into bringing ballots to quarantine centers for individuals exhibiting symptoms or are positive for COVID-19 virus.

“There will be more people who will be in quarantine, who will be allowed to vote otherwise. Kaso hindi naman natin sila pwedeng tanggalan ng right to vote just because may sakit sila, (We cannot deprive them of their right to vote just because they are sick),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) said there should also be a risk assessment especially for voters who are returning to their respective provinces.

“The requirements of the face masks, face shields can be property requirements that could disenfranchise some vulnerable groups of voters, even the test that are required before you enter into the provinces where you should be voting,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Voter registration to resume on January 4, 2021 – COMELEC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The voter registration will resume on January 4, 2021, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced on Wednesday.

“If you missed the last day of #VoterReg2020, don’t despair just yet. #VoterRegistration will resume January 4, 2021. #MakeAPlanToRegister then. #MagparehistroKa!” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in a tweet.

In an earlier advisory, COMELEC said the last day of voter registration for this year was on December 29, 2020.

The voter registration was also closed during the special non-working days and regular holidays for the month of December.

Voter registration is conducted from Mondays to Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Friday as the designated disinfection day unless the local government unit prescribes a different disinfection day, the advisory read.

The poll body reminded the public that anti-COVID-19 protocols are being strictly imposed in all COMELEC offices.

Duterte nominates Davao del Norte poll exec as COMELEC commissioner

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2020

Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has nominated Davao del Norte Provincial Election Supervisor Aimee Ferolino-Ampoloquio as commissioner of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed Ampoloquio’s nomination on Nov. 24.

“With her vast experience in election matters, Ms. Ampoloquio, would certainly contribute in ensuring our elections would be honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible,” Roque said in a statement.

The poll body has welcomed the nomination of Ampoloquio.

She will fill the position of COMELEC Commissioner Al Parreño who retired last February.

Should the Commission on Appointments approve her nomination, Ampoloquio will serve as Commissioner for a term expiring on February 2, 2027.

Lawyer Ampoloquio first joined COMELEC in 1994 as an emergency laborer then became an election assistant for 12 years.

She also served as an election officer in the First District of Davao City for a decade before she became the Provincial Election Supervisor of Davao del Norte.

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