BANGUED, Abra – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Ricardo T. Marquez issued a stern warning against law enforcers involved in politics in relation to the upcoming May 9, 2016 general and automated elections, citing that the 150,000-strong country’s police force must remain impartial, neutral.
During his visit here Wednesday, Marquez reminded PNP personnel to avail of the absentee voting that started Saturday so that they will be able to concentrate on their anti-criminality and peacekeeping efforts that would translate to a secured and free elections (SAFE) when the country’s electorate flock to the polling precincts on election day.
However, the PNP chief cited that the secured and free elections must not only be confined during election day but the duration of the election period to prevent the loss of lives and damage to property due to intensed political rivalry.
The Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera presented to Marquez some 100 high and low-powered firearms that were turned over to the Abra Provincial Police Office by gunholders and politicians for safekeeping as part of their contribution to help preserve the conduct of an honest, orderly and peaceful elections.
Chief Superintendent Ulysses Abellera, PRO-COR regional director, also presented to the PNP chief one of the successful operations of the police regionwide wherein a total of 84 wanted persons were simultaneously arrested in a day of unrelenting and uncompromising police operations to sustain peacekeeping initiatives in the different parts of the region.
“We commend the men and women of PRO Cordillera for their dedication in making the Cordillera a peaceful place year round,” Marquez stressed.
According to him, some of the practical and proven initiatives to ensure an honest and orderly election this May 2016: Peace Covenant Signing, Peace Talk, Walk for Peace, Voter’s Education and distribution of leaflets for “No to vote buying” and the safe-keeping of expired and loose firearms from gun holders and owners and politicians.
At the same time, Marquez also issued citations to eight policemen for their exemplary performance in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities to help maintain peace and order in the region.
Marquez called on politicians in the different parts of the province to learn to make election day as an ordinary day so that fear among the electorate will be removed and they will have a free hand in selecting their officials for the next three years.
We must be determined to minimize election-related violence in Abra and remove the Province of Abra in the list of Areas of Concerns “Hotspots” during elections,” Marquez said.
He challenged all stakeholders in the province to replicate the success of peace initiatives in Abra during the May 2013 mid-term elections whereby there was zero election-related violence and incidents because of the vigilance of the people and the cooperation of feuding politicians to stringent peacekeeping initiatives that were put in place.
By Dexter A. See