With the successful conduct of the barangay and youth polls yesterday, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano commends the over 1,000 police personnel who “performed beyond the call of duty” by serving as Board of Election Tellers (BETs) in key areas in the country during the polls.
Ano says a total of 1,104 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were deployed in several voting centers in Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region and Calabarzon to serve as BETs when the assigned teachers failed to report or backed out due to peace and order problems.
“The courage and selflessness of the PNP personnel who served as BET members across the country are admirable and worthy of commendation. Maraming-maraming salamat sa inyong paglilingkod,” he says.
Of the 1,104 PNP members who served as BETs, 6 were in Kalinga, 62 in Dasmarinas City, 14 in Zamboanga City, 144 in Lanao del Norte, 150 in Sulu, 45 in Basilan, 283 in Maguindanao, 657 in Lanao del Sur, 118 in Cotabato City, and 120 in North Cotabato.
"Because of their (PNP) altruistic service as BETs, there is no failure of elections anywhere in the country yesterday. All polling centers opened and Filipinos were able to exercise their right to vote because the PNP and the military were on deck and ready to serve. That means a lot for the voters and for the country as a whole," Ano says.
The Election Service Reform Act and Comelec Resolution No. 10194 provide that uniformed personnel of the PNP may be deputized as a Member of the Electoral Board if the peace and order situation in the area requires it and if and there are no other qualified, willing and available persons to render election service in the affected area.
According to the assessment of the PNP, the May 14 elections was “peaceful and orderly” despite the 47 “violent incidents” that were recorded since the election period began 30 days ago. The figure is less than the 57 violent incidents recorded in the 2013 barangay and SK elections that saw 33 people dead and 55 others injured.
The PNP attributes the decrease in violent incidents during the poll period to intensified police operations, mainly through police response, checkpoint, guncheck and search warrant operations.
Earlier, the PNP has classified 597 areas in the country as red hotspots, 4,970 as orange hotspots, and 2,071 as yellow hotspots.
The "red spots" refer to areas which are in "critical situation," those under orange have "presence of armed groups and "organized movements outside the law," while those in "yellow spots" refer to places "with history of political unrest."
A total of 181,212 uniformed PNP personnel assumed election duty in 73,562 polling centers; and in the Reactionary Standby Support Forces of the Police Regional Offices and the National Headquarters; and as members of the Quick Reaction Teams.
Meanwhile, DILG Spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya says that now that the elections are over, on top of the DILG’s agenda is the mandatory training for the elected SK officials as provided for in the SK Reform Act or Republic Act No. 10742.
Malaya says the DILG in coordination with the National Youth Commission and the local government leagues has prepared a good training package for SK officials to equip them with the right knowledge and skills on their role as youth representatives.
He warns that "non-attendance to the training without any valid reason shall be considered as an instance of deliberate failure to attend and shall constitute sufficient ground to disqualify SK officials or subject them to disciplinary actions as per Section 27 of the SK Reform Act.”
The SK mandatory training will run on May 17 to 26 covering modules on decentralization and local governance, SK history and salient features, how to conduct meetings and craft resolutions, how to do planning and budgeting, and code of conduct and ethical standards of a public official.