DepEd, PNP, AFP and Comelec pledge for clean elections
by Janinah Jimmin M. Molina
Cagayan de Oro City (7 May) -- Once again we are called upon to man the pollse mandated as an agency from the DepEd to the military with the police power to the COMELEC and including other line agencies to ensure HOPE which stands for Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections.
These were the words of the Dr. Luz S. Almeda, Regional Director of the Department of Education in region 10, during the "Pledge of Commitment for Clean Elections" held at the DepEd Curriculum Improvement Center, May 7, 2010.
DepEd officials from region 10, as well as representatives from the Commission of Elections (COMELEC), Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) participated during the event.
Dr. Almeda made it clear that the DepEd will never engage in partisan politics. Aside from the responsibility to vote, she also accentuated that their job is to secure the sanctity of the ballot and to make sure that every individual would be able to exercise suffrage.
Moreover, she appealed to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) and the election task force to avoid wearing any color associated with political parties to prevent any suspicions of partisan bias.
Instead, she recommended wearing white shirts for the election. "Let's wear white because it is the symbol of peace," she explained.
On the other hand, Police Chief Superintendent Conrado E. Laza, newly-installed Regional Director of the PNP, cited COMELEC Resolution No. 8714 which was recently implemented.
"This holds the rules and regulations on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons; and employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or bodyguards, during the election period for the May 10, 2010 National and Local Elections," he said.
He furthermore expressed their commitment in helping COMELEC achieve its goal of having honest and orderly peaceful elections.
PCSupt. Laza disclosed, "The Police Regional Office 10 has already deployed its personnel to lower units in order to render election duties and even reminded them to religiously observe the provisions of the COMELEC."
Regarding election updates, Atty. Renato A. Magbutay, Regional Election Director said, "This morning, we got the compact flash (CF) cards from Manila and those were already deployed to different municipalities in the region except for Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro which will be arriving tomorrow or this afternoon."
"The deployment of our Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines started May 5, 2010," he clarified.
So far, areas which have been initially distributed with PCOS machines include Bukidnon, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental which will later on be followed by Lanao del Norte. The PCOS machines will be distributed to polling places in the barangays. These machines will then undergo procedures of testing and sealing.
"It took us two (2) days to retrieve flash cards embedded in the PCOS machines from more than 3,600 machines and then we shipped it out to Manila," he included. He guaranteed that they have new compact flash cards and that those are not reconfigured ones.
Meanwhile, Atty. Magbutay gave further details with regard to the testing and the sealing of the PCOS machines. "The Commission of Elections came up with a resolution extending the testing and sealing up to May 9," he said.
However, he stressed that the COMELEC-Region X is not prepared for manual elections and will push through with automated elections. In occurrence of machine breakdowns, he merely conveyed that they have replacement PCOS machines and that BEIs should inform ahead any problems on the operation of the machines.
"We rely on the AFP and PNP that they will do their part," he declared.
A Memorandum of Agreement was also signed between the DepEd, PNP, AFP and the COMELEC with the provision that the PNP should provide security to polling places, members of the BEIs as well as the voters.
Further, that the PNP will be responsible for ensuring the holding of an honest, orderly and peaceful election on May 10, 2010. (XU DevCom/PIA) [top]