BAGUIO CITY – The intensified voters education coupled with the growing political maturity among politicians and their supporters were two major factors that contributed in the conduct of peaceful and orderly elections during the May 9, 2016 general and automated elections, a ranking official of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera said here Thursday.
Chief Superintendent Ulysses Abellera, PRO-COR regional director, said the conduct of the political exercise in the region was generally peaceful except for some isolated election-related violence and incidents in Abra and Kalinga on election day but such cases were immediately dealt with accordingly by concerned law enforcers assigned in the said places.
“We have to give credit to the growing awareness of our voters on the importance of the conduct of the elections coupled with the discipline of our politicians and their supporters to be engaged in activities that will trigger untoward incidents resulting to loss of lives and inflict serious damage to properties,”Abellera stressed.
He cited one of the successful gauges of the maturity of politicians and their supporters and the work of voters education is the significant reduction of election-related violence and incidents committed in the different parts of the region during the May 2013 mid-term elections compared to the similar period prior to the conduct of the May 2016 general and automated elections.
Based on available statistics from April 2012 up to the May 2013 mid-term elections, there were 136 election-related violence and incidents while there were only 97 election-related incidents and violence during the period April 2015 up to the May 2016 general and automated elections.
While the full alert of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been downgraded to heightened alert, Abellera cited the over 4,000-strong regional police force remains vigilant for the occurrence of post-election violence that would put to risk the safety of lives and properties in the different parts of the region.
According to the police official, the untoward shooting incident in Lagayan, Abra during the conduct of the elections between private armed groups of two feuding politicians resulted in the arrest of long-team wanted individuals belonging to the Vincent Guzman private armed group aligned with a certain political family and the subsequent detention of eight individuals and the seizure of illegal firearms from them.
On the other hand, the police official revealed that hot pursuit operations are still underway for armed men that took one of the vote counting machines used at the Kinama Elementary School in Rizal, Kalinga on the evening of election day.
He added there were no election-related violence and incidents that were reported in Apayao, Baguio City, Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province before, during and after the elections that contributed to the generally peaceful conduct of the elections regionwide but law enforcers still continue to be vigilant for any untoward incidents that might taint the good image that is being pictured for the region as peaceful and orderly during the conduct of political exercises.
By Dexter A. See
Region NEWS RELEASE
Refer to Herald Express News Team