MANILA - A week ahead of the barangay elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) still has to receive the budget from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the polls on Monday.
Despite the lack of funds, the PNP will make do with available resources to ensure peaceful and orderly conduct of the barangay elections, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said.
“We have yet to receive the budget. We have to improvise and innovate. We will do our duty as police officers, we will still perform our duties, mostly additional subsistence, fuel and logistics,” Sindac said.
He said the PNP has prepared elaborate security measures for the barangay elections on Monday under SAFE-Alpha headed by Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., the concurrent PNP deputy chief for operations.
“National elections will always be more challenging than barangay polls but it will be more manageable. But it’s more violent because it’s close to home and close to the heart so we expect the rivalry to be intense at the grassroots level,” Sindac said.
“Our worry is the volume of election-related violent incidents while they will be scattered everywhere, if they add up it would be overwhelming,” he added.
Sindac assured the public the PNP will handle the peace and order situation with the activation of the Joint Security Coordinating Council (JSCC), which is overseeing the nationwide situation.
“We can say with confidence that we will not be biased in favor of anybody because many of policemen who will be deployed are not residents of the barangay where they will be deployed,” he added.
The military, for its part, will deploy more than 800 troops to support the police in securing the barangay polls in Metro Manila next week.
Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said 861 soldiers would help in poll-related duties such as manning checkpoints, conducting visibility patrols, establishing assistance desks and securing vital installations and voting centers.
The deployment took effect last Monday and will be in force until Oct. 30.
Zagala said each major service has committed 67 soldiers to be placed under the command of the Joint Task Force National Capital Region (NCR). These military personnel would augment the 165 soldiers in the task force. – With Alexis Romero, Mayen Jaymalin