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Davao City, Philippines

Cops ready for poll duty ‘as last resort’

May 09, 2019 - Thursday 7:05 PM by Ruth Palo

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DAVAO CITY -- Around 175 police officers in Region 11 will be deployed to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) members in lieu of teachers who fail to report for their poll duties on May 13 due to security and safety reasons.

Police Major Jason Baria, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 11, said the police officers were trained by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Office 11 and PRO 11’s Regional Election Monitoring Action Center (REMAC) on April, 2019.

Baria said the police officers were given a series of lectures and orientation on general instructions of the election process and how to operate the Vote Counting Machines (VCM).

Under the election service reform act, uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be deputized to render election service as last resort in cases where the peace and order situation so requires as determined by the Comelec and where there are no qualified voters willing to serve.

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde assured the public that the PNP is ready to replace the BEI members in case there is a shortage of teachers during Election Day, particularly those assigned to identify hotspot areas who refuse to do election service.

Election Officer and Comelec 11 Spokesperson Lawyer Krisna Samantha Caballero clarified that PNP personnel will only be a contingency option, adding the police officers will still have to follow the protocol and guidelines set by the Comelec.

Meron naman tayo lahat electoral boards, kompleto naman po yon especially Davao City and all other provinces in Region 11. Pag-wala po yong mga teachers, meron namang substitute na tini-train din namin, galing sa private schools. Then kung kulang pa rin, then we go to LGU, mga government agencies na pwedeng mag-serve. Kung wala din, pwedeng mag-select si Comelec ng any private individual. Last recourse na po natin yong ating mga PNP,” Caballero said.

(The electoral boards are complete especially in Davao City and all other provinces in Region 11. If the teachers don’t report for duty, substitutes from the private schools are being trained. If that is still not enough, then we go to the local government units and government agencies for those who can serve. If that is still not enough, the Comelec will select private individuals. The PNP is our last recourse.)