Palma trusts PNP and AFP to keep elections peaceful
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.