News and UpdatesIn the NewsBSKE polls, Undas peaceful: PNP

BSKE polls, Undas peaceful: PNP


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The  twin observance of the All Saints’ Day-All Souls’ Day and the Barangay & Sangguniang Kabataan Elections went by without a hitch, said the heads of the Commission on Elections and the Philippine National Police.

Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, acting provincial election supervisor of Negros Oriental, said placing the entire province of Negros Oriental under Comelec control “greatly helped diffuse the tension and potential violence” as previously anticipated.

The Comelec said they  were not letting their guard down despite the “generally peaceful” actual voting of the Oct. 30 BSKE in Negros Oriental.

He, however, said that while there was no violent election-related incident reported, tension could still erupt even until the proclamation of the winning candidates.

He urged the police and the military to stay vigilant until all winning candidates have been proclaimed.

Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Comelec regional election director for Central Visayas, in a separate statement said  they were hopeful that Negros Oriental would maintain its peace and order even until after the proclamation.

The Comelec en banc decided to place Negros Oriental under its control to avert violence amid a Province still reeling from what was perceived to be a politically-motivated assassination of Gov. Roel Degamo last March 4.

As of Friday, the 549 voting centers in Negros Oriental had completed the canvassing of votes, a report from the Provincial Election Monitoring Action Center  of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office showed.

The Comelec provincial office reported a 100 percent success in all voting centers, which started at 7 a.m. with all ballots and election paraphernalia accounted for.

Minor incidents reported during the day included brief power interruptions in Siaton and Tayasan towns, but electric cooperatives responded immediately; one teacher fainted in Tanjay City and was replaced by another; and alleged vote-buying at polling centers and elsewhere.

Some voters were also allegedly disenfranchised, and were unable to vote, but Labaria said these have yet to be confirmed.

Also, a Quick Response Team was deployed to barangay Bonbonon in Siaton town over the weekend, following reports of harassment but the tension had fizzled out by then.

Police and military personnel also went to the rescue of some voters who allegedly were prevented from voting; but were able to cast their votes later when they were escorted to their respective precincts.

Thousands of security forces from other parts of the Visayas, including police, military, the Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fire Protection, as well as land, air, and sea assets, were deployed to the Province to secure the BSKE. 

For his part, Lt. Stephen Polinar, spokesperson of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, said the 3,000 security troops who were sent for the two events have returned to their mother units outside of Negros Oriental.

Polinar, also the NOPPO’s deputy chief of the Police Community Affairs & Development Unit,  said these augmentation forces who served on election day came from the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Army, Coast Guard, and BFP.

They also secured the cemeteries where people flocked to visit and pay their respects to their departed loved ones, he said.

The law enforcers were also deployed to man checkpoints, places of convergence such as churches, sea ports, the airport, and bus terminals, and even assist in the smooth flow of traffic, he added.

Polinar said the utilization of these additional security forces is aligned with the Province still being under the control of the Comelec during the BSKE as the “election period” is still on until the end of November.

The Comelec gun ban continues to be in effect, while local ordinances are expected to also continue to be implemented. (Judy F. Partlow/PNA)



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