Borongan City – P/SSupt. Romeo Campones, Provincial Director of the Eastern Samar Provincial Police Office (ESPPO) revealed that seven (7) municipalities in the province have been placed under watch list of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
The figures was reported during the recent joint meeting of Provincial Development Council (PDC) and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) both chaired by Governor Conrado Nicart, Jr. Campomanes said that the 7 towns are Arteche, Taft, Gen. MacArthur, Jipapad, Dolores, Quinapondan and Can-avid.
The provincial police chief said that the towns were considered under election watch list based on the p political tensions and election-related violence during the previous elections. “The whole province remains generally peaceful,” Campomanes said.
Since the election period commenced on January 10, this year, the PNP has recorded no election-related violence. Data presented by ESPPO however reported 12 arrests from January to March, this year in violation to the COMELEC Resolution 10015 or the prohibition of carrying firearms or deadly weapons during the election period. The PNP did not elaborate on these arrests.
Campones also reiterated that there are no private armed groups (PAGs) and criminal gangs operating in the province. He said however the CPP-NDF-NPA remains to be the most potent threat to peace and order particularly in the conduct of May elections.
In a statement released by Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF Spokesperson, he calls on guerrilla fronts to launch tactical offensives before, during and after elections. “Revolution and not election is the answer to Philippine crisis,” Salas said in a statement.
Campones also said that they are not disregarding the possibility that some politicians may employ organizing PAGs especially at the height of the campaign to ensure victory.
The highest political seats in the province are being contested by two political camps. Congressman Ben Evardone (LP) is being challenged by former Guiuan mayor Annaliza Kwan (NPC) while Governor Conrado Nicart (LP) is contested by former Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan (NPC).
Additional police force will be augmented in election watch list areas. Meanwhile, the joint council passed a resolution that the 21 relieved police officers from Balangkayan Municipal Police Station (MPS) be taken from outside the province so as to maintain the ratio of organic personnel in the province. The 21 policemen were relieved from their police station after the NPA heist on the police station on the eve of March 7, this year.
Meanwhile, Emy Bonifacio, PAMANA-Samar Director, in a statement said that she hopes the elections will come out peaceful and orderly. “As a peace advocate, I would like to call on all political hopefuls not to resort to violence just to ensure a seat in the government,” Bonifacio said. PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) is a program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).