40,000 cops fielded to secure May 9 polls

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — At least 40,000 police officers will be deployed nationwide to secure the general elections on May 9, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.

The figure represents 17.83 percent of the 224,305 members of the PNP.

PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said the number is expected to increase as the election day approaches.

“Over 40,000 pero dadagdagan pa namin ‘yan this week and next week,” Carlos told journalists in an interview at Camp Crame.

He said around 16,000 police officers have been recalled from their posts and have completed reorientation in preparation for deployment to ensure safe and orderly elections.

Asked if he would call for a command conference within two weeks before people cast their votes, Carlos said he wanted the field commanders to focus on their jurisdictions.

In case of emergencies, Carlos said he would give out instructions virtually to ensure that local police commanders are properly guided.

Carlos said he ordered the deployment of a platoon size augmentation force in the southern portion of Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon province to address potential threats from communist insurgents.

As the PNP braces for the election day, 30,061 police officers will avail themselves of the local absentee voting.

Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the PNP public information office, said that of the figure, 3,248 are from Camp Crame while 26,813 are assigned in regional police offices.

The local absentee voting is from April 27 to April 29.

Poll security intensified

Meanwhile, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) has intensified its security preparations for the May 9 elections.

EastMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol said they have discussed with the Commission on Elections, the PNP and other government security agencies all measures to be implemented during the elections.

The EastMinCom is studying the possibility of deploying its reserve and forward service units on May 9.

“We will coordinate closely with our security counterparts regularly before, during and after the elections. We will ensure peaceful conditions in polling stations and counting centers so that citizens can vote without fear of coercion, intimidation, manipulation or violence,” Almerol said.

He gave assurance that no communist group could disrupt the voting as the military has “weakened” the force of the insurgents.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it intensified random checkpoints in different communities. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

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