All systems go for May 9 poll security

By Jennifer P. Rendon

As far as security is concerned, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) said they have mapped out enough preparations for a secure, accurate, free, and fair national and local elections (SAFE NLE) 2022.

The Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) has convened in at least six instances to discuss the security preparations for the May 9 national and local elections.

There were several pocket meetings conducted in between.

The RJSCC is chaired by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard as its members.

“Whatever glitches in the security aspect has been ironed out,” Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson, said.

From these discussions, the body was able to come up with the number of deployment and the areas where they must be deployed.

On May 4, thousands of troops from the uniformed service in Western Visayas were officially deployed to perform election duties.

The simultaneous multi-agency send-off ceremony was held at the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) headquarters at Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City.

A total of 16,489 personnel from the PRO-6, the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, and the Philippine Coast Guard-Western Visayas, will form part of the election security for Western Visayas.

The bulk of the employment, or 12,645 personnel which is higher from the earlier projection of 9,224 personnel, are from the police.

The 3rd ID sent off 3,198 personnel and 38 mobility assets while Coast Guard has 646 personnel equipped with resources.

Solis said they were immediately downloaded to the areas where they would render duty.

Augmentation forces have also been downloaded to their assigned places of deployment.

“All agencies and units involved have given so much to achieve our goal for an honest and peaceful elections. We hope that our voting public would exercise their right to vote because we have things in place to secure them,” Solis said,

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) said that it is also all set to provide security for the May 9 polls.

Spearheaded by ICPO director Colonel Leo Batiles, the City Task Group on NLE 2022 was earlier established to man the security requirements to secure the upcoming elections.

The City Election Monitoring Action Centers all over Iloilo City were activated and manned by PNP personnel 24 hours to monitor any election-related issues and concerns.

Likewise, the level of security was heightened to include the sustained holding of checkpoints and Quick Reaction Teams are ready to be deployed if the situation warrants.

Iloilo City currently remains in Category Green.

Still, Batiles has directed all ICPO units to be on full alert and not to be complacent that nothing unfavorable will happen.