Security ops in place as campaign period starts: PNP chief

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde assured that security measures are in place as the 150-day election period set by Commission on Elections (Comelec) kicked off Sunday.

“Gagawin nating mahigpit ito as much as we can para maiwasan ‘yung mga magdadala ng mga ipinagbabawal na gamit gaya ng firearms. Effective today ay mayroon tayong gun ban hanggang [June 12] yan so hopefully ang ating mga kababayan ay sumunod dito sa ipinatutupad ng Comelec na gun ban (We will tighten security to prevent people bearing firearms. Effective today, we have a gun ban until June 12 so hopefully our countrymen will follow the rules set by Comelec),” Albayalde told reporters.

As part of the election security for mid-term elections, Albayalde led the established checkpoints in Quezon City along with National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head, Director Guillermo Eleazar, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director, Chief Supt. Joselito T. Esquivel Jr., and other AFP key officers and Comelec officials.

“So far, wala naman tayong nakita na nakipagmatigasan. Kapag may checkpoint, buksan lang nila ‘yung light sa loob at ibaba ‘yung bintana para makita agad ng mga pulis (So far, we haven’t encountered people who resisted. Whenever there’s checkpoint, they just have to turn on the light inside their car and bring down the windows so our police personnel can see), ” the PNP chief said.

Albayalde said there are 18 areas placed under the election watch list areas (EWAs) for the upcoming 2019 midterm election.

“Itong EWAs there will be special operations task group o SOTG na ginawa natin headed by the different directorate for police operations. Dito sa EWAs, magdadagdag tayo ng mas maraming tao (There will be special operations task group in the EWAs, which are headed by different directorate for police operations),” Albayalde said.

Prior to the inspection of checkpoints, a kick-off program was held at the QCPD Grandstand in Camp Karingal which was attended by Eleazar, Deputy Regional Director for Operations Chief Supt. Dennis Basngi, NCRPO district directors, Joint Task Force (JTF) NCR personnel, Comelec election officers and Quezon City hall personnel.

In his message, Eleazar called on the public to cooperate and observe the standard operating procedures during checkpoint.

He also encouraged them to report any personnel caught abusing their power. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)