By Martin Sadongdong
Three months before the midterm elections in May, the peace and order situation in Metro Manila has remained manageable, according to the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
This, despite the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s revelation that five cities in the metro, Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, Mandaluyong and Pasay, are considered election areas of concern because of suspected poll-related violence recorded in the past.
“Ang limang cities na nabanggit, kasama sila sa areas of concern dahil sa mga previous suspected election-related incidents na nangyari ng nagdaang eleksyon pero sa ngayon, nakita natin na wala namang ganoong sitwasyon na attending to the present (The five cities included in the areas of concern have previous record of suspected election-related incidents but now, we can see that the situation has been peaceful),” said NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar.
“Sa kabuuan, ang lahat ng 17 cities at municipality sa NCRPO o dito sa NCR o Metro Manila ay considered na manageable in terms of peace and order (In total, all the 17 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila are considered manageable in terms of peace and order,” he added.
Even when the campaign period for senatorial and party-list candidates started last Tuesday, February 12, Eleazar noted that no election-related incident has been recorded so far in Metro Manila.
“Generally peaceful naman kasi ‘yon namang interventions na ginagawa natin even before election period ay nakalatag like ‘yong ating Comelec [Commission on Elections] checkpoints (The [situation] is generally peaceful because the interventions that we’ve been doing even before the election period remains in place like the Comelec checkpoints,” he said.
The Metro Manila police has also been conducting Oplan Katok (Knock) operations in line with the PNP’s campaign against loose firearms for the coming elections.
In Oplan Katok, Eleazar said police are going into the house of gun owners with expired licenses or unlicensed firearms.
Eleazar said the gun owners will have to temporarily surrender their firearms to the police for safekeeping while they are in the process of securing papers for their firearms.
Once they are able to renew their licenses, only then will the gun owners be able to retrieve their guns.
“Tayo ay nananawagan sa ating kababayan na kung meron silang baril na expired o unlicensed, they just have to coordinate with the nearest station and kami ang pupunta doon para marecover natin for temporary safekeeping (We appeal to the public to coordinate with the nearest police station if they habe expired gun permits or unlicensed firearms and we will go to you to recover your gun for temporary safekeeping),” Eleazar stated.
“Wala pong kaso at hindi natin sila aarestuhin (No charge will be filed against you and you will not be arrested),” he concluded.