PNP on nationwide alert for May 9 polls PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 May 2016 15:30

Philippines police on Saturday went on full alert as the country gears for the general elections on May 9 to choose a new president, vice president, national legislators and local officials from accross the archipelago.

The full alert status requires the entire police force including those on schooling and attending seminars to be ready for deployment, Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor told radio dzBB in an interview.

“We are on full alert status starting today (Saturday) directed by  PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez,” Mayor said.

He said all leaves of police personnel have been cancelled and all policemen are required to be in their stations and ready for deployment.

“Stop trainings, seminars ... because all of them will be returned to their unit to maximize deployment,” he said.

He also said that the PNP has started accounting for the reserve forces from the national down to the regional level.

Reserve forces will be deployed in case additional police troops are needed in certain areas, the spokesperson said..

Additional police forces will be deployed in violent prone areas that have been included in the election watchlist.

The watchlist includes provinces in southern Mindanao island like Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Sulu where various armed groups exist like the Daesh-aligned Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Isamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), the communist People’s Army (NPA) and private armies of political warlords.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, will place all its forces on heightened alert status starting next week, military spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a separate radio dzBB interview.

“Our alert status is still normal... We go into full alert status next week,” Padilla said.

Padilla said the military has intensified monitoring of possible threat groups as part of its security preparation for the elections.

Padilla added that as part of the military’s security arrangement with the PNP, the AFP’s forces will not be deployed in cities where there are enough number of policemen during the elections.

“Our forces are not concentrated on cities but on areas where police forces are thinly spread,” he said.

The presidential race is a four-corner fight among frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas and Jejomar Binay.

The two latest surveys showed Duterte on a comfortable 10-point lead over Poe and Roxas who are statistically tied.

Duterte has projected an image of a tough guy bent on running after criminals especially drug traffickers and traders and corrupt officials. He has announced his support to pursue the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), to unite the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and to negotiate with the communist New People’s Army (NPA).