BANGUED, Abra – The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has not yet labelled the province’s twenty-seven towns as to their risk classifications in preparation for the upcoming May 9, 2022 synchronized national and local elections because assessments are still being undertaken by concerned government agencies on the real situation on the ground.
Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Ricardo Lampac stated they are assessing the municipalities if there are intense political rivalries among the aspirants for the different elected positions, presence of private armed groups, among other parameters that would allow the municipalities to be classified under areas of special concern, areas of immediate concern or areas of concern while the May polls is fast approaching.
Initially, Lampac reported that the joint election monitoring committee is currently doing this assessment on the province’s 27 municipalities for it to classify the possible classifications within the next several weeks to allow the law enforcement agencies and the poll body to prepare their contingency plans on the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections in the whole province.
For so many elections, the election supervisor disclosed that Abra has been always tagged as a hotspot because of election-related violence and incidents including the killing of rival politicians and their supporters and the presence of private armed groups being reportedly maintained by politicians.
Lampac will be the province’s election supervisor after the reshuffling by the poll body of all the different election officers in the country to ensure the conduct of orderly and peaceful elections.
According to him, he will be engaging all the concerned parties, including the civil society groups, to solicit their cooperation in the implementation of the stringent election rules and regulations to ensure the credibility of the results of the political exercise and for the results to reflect the true will of the voters who casted their votes in the automated elections.
He added that the poll body is currently conducting preparatory activities for those who will be actively participating in the elections, especially the members of the board of election inspectors, the teachers who will be managing the precincts and other stakeholders, to ensure their readiness in the upcoming May polls.
Lampac revealed that the poll body will also be initiating a series of consultations with the politicians, their political leaders and supporters, to ensure they adhere to the stringent rules and regulations governing the conduct of the elections to preserve the sanctity of the ballot so that the true will of the people will be reflected in the election of the leaders who will govern them for the next 3 years.
Lampac expressed hope that the desired conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections in the province will be realized with the active participation of concerned stakeholders to negate the perception of Abra as a conflict-stricken area and that elections in the province are peaceful.