By Ivy Tejano, Armando Fenequito Jr., and Mike Crismundo
DAVAO CITY – Security preparations for the 2019 mid-term elections have started to go into full-swing as Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11) placed its forces in the whole Davao region under heightened alert and the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) in Northeastern Mindanao, or Caraga region, announced that it is already looking into reports of Communist rebels extorting money in exchange for permits to campaign.
PRO-11 director Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales said all police personnel in the region have been directed to closely watch their respective assigned areas, especially, with the start of the election period on January 19.
“I want you to look back on how we perform in the previous elections, fill the gaps and develop our performance, and make the voting day an ordinary one and let people choose leaders freely without retribution,” Morales said, referring to police personnel in the region.
Morales also cited the Philippine National Police (PNP) Ethical Doctrine that states that PNP members shall provide services to everyone without prejudice regardless of party affiliation, following the existing laws and regulations.
To prevent their personnel from being influenced by politicians, Morales said, the region will have to re-shuffle some of them, particularly those police officers who have a relative involved with a running politician.
“May I remind the city and provincial commanders to be non-partisan and that all police personnel must observe utmost discipline and professionalism at all times,” Morales added.
The police regional director assured the public that the PRO-Davao personnel and its counterparts will continue working together to intensify the implementation of security plans all over the region.
Based on the intelligence community sources, the RJSCC considers the New People’s Army (NPA) as the number one threat during the election, considering that they are already reportedly collecting campaign election fees to candidates running in the May 2019 polls.
“We are still collecting reports pertaining to this alleged campaign election fees imposed by the communist terrorists,” also said PRO 13 Regional Director Chief Supt. Gilberto DC Cruz.