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16 violent election-related incidents recorded in 4 months

A day before 67.5 million Filipino troop to polling centers, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed 16 validated cases of violent election-related incidents (ERIs) across the country since the election period started on January 9 with the gun ban.

In a virtual press conference on Sunday, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the number was much lower than 133 in the 2016 national and 60 in the 2019 mid-term polls.

Gun ban violators and confiscated firearms were likewise 50 percent lower than in the two previous elections.

Overall as of Sunday, 3,081 have been arrested and 2,459 firearms were seized.

The latest additions to violent ERIs were two shooting incidents on Saturday among supporters of rival mayoral candidates.

Four died in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur, while 24 were arrested in General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.

Fajardo said the general situation and assessment for Monday’s elections is still “green” or generally peaceful with a few isolated incidents.

“We are not discounting any possibility. All contingencies are in place for all possible scenarios and we identified the number of personnel needed. Checkpoints are established and we have more than 40,000 personnel deployed,” she said.

“We also have a security and quick reaction team and convoy for the transport of election paraphernalia,” Fajardo added.

All campaign activities ended on Saturday and the liquor ban is in effect Sunday and Monday.

The PNP National Election Monitoring and Action Center reported 92 percent completion of delivery of official ballots to 1,635 Treasurer’s Offices for further distribution to 37,113 polling centers, Fajardo said.

PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., assured that the 225,000-strong police force would ensure peaceful, orderly, and credible elections.

“Sa mga nagbabalak mandaya (Those who plan to cheat in the elections), just a stern warning sa inyo ito (to you), we will use the full force of the law against you, at kung mahuli kayo pasensya, siguradong may pagkakalagyan kayo (if you get caught, you will face the full force of the law),” said Danao, who will replace Gen. Dionardo Carlos who turns 56 Sunday.

Danao reminded police officers to remain apolitical and treat all candidates equally.

Source: Philippines News Agency