MANILA, Philippines - Police have recorded a total of 25 election-related violent incidents since the implementation of the nationwide election gunban for the October 25 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Director Ben Belarmino, PNP's Deputy Director for Operations and Task Force Hope commander, told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda" that the number of violent incidents is lower compared to the 2007 Barangay and SK elections.
Belarmino attributes the lower violence to the increased number of mobile checkpoints and more extensive security checks nationwide.
A total of 543 gunban violators were arrested and 458 firearms seized by police since the ban was implemented last September 25.
Belarmino added that the arrests and firearms confiscation this year is higher compared to the last barangay and SK elections.
The police official, meanwhile, said that several rookie policemen have undergone trainings to be able to replace teachers as Board of Election Tellers (BETs) during emergencies.
He added that the policemen nationwide have been given strict instructions to protect teachers and the ballots in election hotspots.
Benjo Basas, chairman of the Teachers' Dignity Coalition, said 700 of the 1,000 teachers in Cotabato City have signified their refusal to sit as BETs on October 25 due to security and compensation concerns.
Basas said teachers who will be acting as BETs on October 25 will only receive P2,000 each, and no transportation allowance.
Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body's funds are already used up and it cannot provide additional allowances for the teachers.
Jimenez said the Comelec is trying to look for more funds that can be provided for the complaining teachers.