Cebu police forms alert teams to respond to poll-related emergencies
Cebu City (6 May) -- Police have created alert teams in Cebu to respond to any election-related emergency with four days to go in the countdown to the actual polls on Monday, May 10.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Chief of Operations Chief Insp. Ali Baron bared the police alert teams are on standby in case any untoward poll-related incidents occur.
Baron said forming the alert teams is in line with the objective of attaining H.O.P.E. (honest, orderly and peaceful elections).
Seven out of the 20 areas under the Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS) in Central Visayas are in Cebu, as previously disclosed by the Police Regional Office (PRO-7). These areas in Cebu are Lapulapu City, Camotes Island, Cordova, Sta. Fe, San Remegio, Bogo and Tabuelan.
Reasons for placing some cities and municipalities under the EWAS are intense political rivalry, history of election-related violence and presence of communist rebels, this is said.
Lapulapu City Election Supervisor Atty. Ferdinand Gujilde allayed fears that areas declared under the election watchlist are not safe due to the perception that violence is sure to erupt.
"We want to assure everyone especially residents in areas declared under the election watchlist that these areas are safe and that intense monitoring is done because of their history of political violence. But this does not mean violence is certain to happen," Gujilde stressed.
Baron said there will be security augmentation for the province to ensure that all polling centers will have police and military teams combined to guarantee peace and order.
Armed Forces of the Philippines - Central Command (AFP-CentCom) Spokeperson Lt. Col. Wilson Feria said that on their part, they have also provided security augmentation. "We have 133 soldiers from the 78th IB, another 200 soldiers from CentCom while the number does not include augmentation from the Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy," Feria said.
Feria also said soldiers have been told to remain "apolitical" and "neutral" and that their major role is "to ensure peace and order in tandem with the police" and "to secure your votes."
Baron meanwhile, said the intelligence community is doing intense monitoring and networking as reports came out of armed goons that arrived in Cebu with the purpose of disrupting the elections through intimidation or harassment. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]