14 dead in 31 poll-related incidents: PNP

MANILA -- A total of 14 persons were killed in 31 election-related violence incidents (ERVI), less than a week before the country's mid-term elections on May 13, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.

As of this time, our ERVIs increased to 31 and there are 14 deaths. But remember this is still lower compared with the 2016 and 2013 elections, PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, told reporters in a press briefing.

The number of ERVIs recorded in the 2013 and 2016 elections are 94 and 106, respectively.

This is a big decline. We cannot entirely say we are doing good but of course, with these incidents, we aim to fully implement our police interventions so that the number of ERVIs won't increase, he noted.

He said the sharp decrease in ERVIs can be attributed to the strict security measures implemented by both the PNP and the Armed Forces in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, and cooperation of candidates to prevent violence.

Albayalde said other factors which may have contributed to the low ERVIs were the PNP's application of search warrants on known criminal lairs, guns-for-hire, and members of private armed groups and application of warrants of arrest on wanted persons.

On Tuesday, the PNP launched the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) aimed at overseeing Election Day situations across the country.

Albayalde said the NEMAC will monitor situations in all polling centers from Camp Crame, including the arrival of vote counting machines (VCMs), counting of ballots, and delivery of ballot boxes.

He said NEMAC will be manned by 60 police personnel led by Brig. Gen. Florencio Ortilla, head of the PNP National Operations Center.

Albayalde said the PNP will deploy 150,000 police personnel in different parts of the country to assure the safety and security of the public during the May 13 elections.

He said 1,404 cops were trained by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as Board of Election Inspectors so that they may take over in case some teachers are not able to report on the day of elections.

Albayalde said they have yet to detect any security threats for the polls.

The PNP chief, however, said they are not letting their guards down, especially in Mindanao where threats from local terrorist groups and other lawless elements are prevalent.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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