By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The Philippine National Police here has confirmed that Negros Oriental is included as one of the provinces in the country under the election watch list or ‘area of concern’ for the May 2016 polls.
However, Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) OIC-PD Police Sr. Supt. Harris Fama, in a Kapihan forum, pointed out that being in the list “does not necessarily mean that an area is a hot spot or a high risk area.”
The newly installed police director said “EWAS or election watch-list areas means the province may have recorded incidents in the previous elections that involved violent and intense political rivalry.”
Col. Fama said this is a challenged for his leadership to monitor and secure related election activities and any threats to life of a candidate.
With the activation of the Provincial Joint Security Coordinating Center (PJSCC) composed of the Comelec, PNP and AFP, the implementation of gun ban and operation of checkpoint is intensified as security measure throughout the electoral process.
Dumaguete City Comelec Registrar Atty. Gildu Agoncillo asked to public to “bear with us in the checkpoints as it will intensify more as the elections draw near.”
Atty. Gildu appealed this to the public after it was learned that some procedures in carrying out Comelec checkpoint operations have problems.
With this, Col. Fama set a meeting with the Commission on Human Rights, Comelec, Land Transportation Office, and PNP.
The Comelec official said government agencies are prohibited to hire or appoint employees as well as to transfer their officials or employees during the election period.
However, the movement of personnel will be allowed as long as they are necessary to the functions of the offices and shall not, in any manner, influence the conduct of elections. (rmn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental with reports from Churchill Guevarra, NORSU intern/This article was first published on Jan. 25, 2016)