GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 May) — The Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 has deployed 306 additional police personnel around the region in preparation for the May 13 midterm national and local elections.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima Jr., Region 12 police director, said Tuesday the additional policemen were specifically deployed to help address election-related incidents and security problems that might emerge in the run-up, during and after the elections.
A formal sendoff ceremony was held at the police regional headquarters in Barangay Tambler for the 306 police personnel, which comprised commissioned and non-commissioned officers, he said.
“These police officers were earlier given orientations and trainings specific for election duty,” the police official said.
Calima said they assigned the additional personnel to the different police units within the region’s four provinces and five cities based on their manpower needs and the locality’s security condition.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
He said priority was given to police stations covering areas that have high voting population and those with the most number of polling centers and precincts.
Calima said some of the police officers were assigned to help secure the precinct count optical scan or PCOS machines that will be delivered to the area’s polling precincts on election day.
In Region 12, the official said the Comelec central office has assigned 2,843 PCOS machines for the upcoming elections.
Comelec Region 12 has established a total of 2,807 clustered precincts out of the area’s 13,999 original precincts. The total number of registered voters in the region is presently at 2,015,062.
In the 2010 national and local elections, the region only had 2,769 clustered precincts and 1,987,427 total registered voters.
Calima said the areas that were prioritized for the augmentation were Cotabato City and the provinces of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
PRO-12 had listed them as possible areas of concern for the May elections due to the emergence of violent incidents these past weeks that might be connected with the upcoming polls, he said.
The official said all police units in the region are now on full alert in preparation for the May 13 polls.
He said Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima had canceled police vacation leaves to ensure maximum troop deployment.
Calima added that the full alert status will remain in effect until all election-related activities are completed. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)