Palma trusts PNP and AFP to keep elec­tions peace­ful

Cebu Daily News - - NEWS - By Delta Dyrecka Leti­gio and Nes­tle Semilla

CEBU Arch­bishop Jose Palma has placed his full trust in the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philip­pines (AFP) to keep Cebu and Cen­tral Visayas safe and peace­ful in the com­ing May 2019 elec­tions.

He said the PNP and AFP have the ex­per­tise to iden­tify Elec­tion Watch list Ar­eas (EWAS) in the re­gion and he trusts that they will do the nec­es­sary ac­tion to pre­vent vi­o­lence in these ar­eas.

“They are in a bet­ter po­si­tion to de­cide which are hotspots. Of course, we al­ways up­hold a clean, hon­est and peace­ful elec­tions,” said the prelate in an in­ter­view with the me­dia af­ter cel­e­brat­ing Mass dur­ing the Feast of the Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion at the Cebu Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cathe­dral.

Palma said that he hopes the PNP and AFP can suc­cess­fully pro­tect the places un­der the EWAS to ensure that the vot­ers can ex­er­cise their right of suf­frage in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.

“If there is a per­cep­tion or feel­ing that the elec­tions in these ar­eas will not be peace­ful, let them de­clare a hotspot. If they have to look af­ter these places, let it be in a closer and more tight way,” he said.

“Atong wish is that atong elec­tion, clean, hon­est and peace­ful na. (Our wish for our elec­tions would be a clean, hon­est, and peace­ful one),” the prelate added.

Last Thurs­day (De­cem­ber 6), the Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice in Cen­tral Visayas (PRO-7) de­clared 29 EWAS in Cen­tral Visayas in­clud­ing seven ar­eas in Cebu prov­ince.

These are the cities of Cebu, Man­daue, Lapu-Lapu, and Danao. The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Ronda and San Fer­nando were clas- si­fied as “yellow,” which means that the place has a his­tory of elec­tion-re­lated in­ci­dents and in­tense political ri­valry.

The north­ern town of Tubu­ran was placed un­der “orange” cat­e­gory in­di­cat­ing the pres­ence of armed groups in the area dur­ing the last three elec­tions.

PRO-7 is now re­assess­ing these cities and towns to i den­tify whether there have been any changes in the sit­u­a­tions in these ar­eas.

Po­lice Re­gional Direc­tor, Chief Supt. De­bold Si­nas said part of their re­assess­ment is the mon­i­tor­ing of some of the ar­eas which have been re­ported to have elected of­fi­cials in pos­ses­sion of un­li­censed firearms.

Si­nas said a search war­rant was served on an in­cum­bent barangay chief in Tubu­ran town for loose firearms.

The barangay cap­tain re­mains at large.

“Tubu­ran kasi for the last elec­tions, me­dyo (un­der) orange cat­e­gory gyud na sa Cebu,” said Si­nas.

Si­nas said that there are elected of­fi­cials who al­ready sur­ren­dered their un­li­censed firearms in­clud­ing firearms with ex­pired li­censes.

He said there are still elected of­fi­cials who have not yet sur­ren­dered their loose firearms.

Si­nas said that they are now co­or­di­nat­ing with the Firearms and Ex­plo­sives Di­vi­sion (FED) to mon­i­tor of­fi­cials in pos­ses­sion of firearms with ex­pired li­censes.

CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MEN­DOZA

PALMA

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