More cops to be deployed to SouthCot to help secure polls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – The Police Regional Office 12 is set to deploy 55 additional policemen in nearby South Cotabato province to augment the area’s security pool for the May 13 midterm national and local elections.

Senior Supt. Romeo Ver, acting South Cotabato police director, said Wednesday such augmentation was based on an earlier request submitted by his office to the regional police as contained in their election or poll security plan.

“We were allotted with 55 additional personnel for the upcoming elections,” he said.

Ver said the additional policemen will be deployed in police stations covering areas that have high voting population and those with the most number of polling centers and precincts.

He specifically cited Koronadal City and Polomolok town, which are the most populated areas in the province.

Koronadal, which is the regional seat and center of Region 12, has a total of 82,808 registered voters and 107 clustered precincts.

The industrial town of Polomolok has 73,314 registered voters and 97 clustered precincts.

Ver said the new police personnel will be assigned to help secure the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines that will be delivered to the area’s polling precincts a week before election day.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has assigned 893 PCOS machines for the province or one each per clustered precinct.

“The allocation per police station will depend on the area’s security requirements and classification for the elections,” Ver said.

He said they are still waiting for the Comelec’s directive as to when the 55 additional policemen will be deployed in the province.

Meantime, Ver said they have yet to finalize their assessment regarding the possible hotspots or areas of immediate concern in the province in the upcoming polls.

The Comelec provincial office earlier noted that none among the province’s 10 towns and lone city has been classified as hotspot areas.

In the 2010 national and local elections, Comelec and the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office classified the municipalities of Tampakan, Lake Sebu and T’boli as areas of immediate concern.

Tampakan was given such classification based on previous records of election-related violence in the area while T’boli and Lake Sebu got the tag due to the confirmed presence of New People’s Army rebels and the distance of some polling centers and precincts in the area. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)