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Acorda: All measures in place to secure 2023 SK, bgy polls

June 5, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 254 views

AcordaTHE Philippine National Police (PNP) is fine-tuning security preparations for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and is looking into all kinds of threats to the holding of peaceful and orderly polls in October this year, officials told the Journal Group on Monday.

“Security measures are prepared for the elections in October in the country’s 42,022 barangays which will commence with the 90-day election period on August 28 until November 29, 2023,” said PNP chief, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr.

PNP Director for Operations, Brigadier Gen. Leo M. Francisco said the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy for the BSKE elections would be from August 28 to September 2.

The election period will be from August 28 to November 29 in which the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be implementing a nationwide prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons as well as the employment of bodyguards.

During the 90-day election period, only members of the PNP, the AFP and other law enforcement agencies conducting actual performance of duties in their agency-prescribed uniform will be exempted from the gun ban.

Agents of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) guarding the First Family are automatically exempted from the ban.

The PNP will suspend all Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence (PTCFORs) or Place of Business during the period. Thus, licensed gun-holders with PTCFORs have to first secure a Comelec gun ban exemption permit for them to be able to bring their guns outside their residence.

Acorda said that although mandatory drug testing is specifically not among the requirements for the filing of certificates of candidacy, they welcome any voluntary benevolent gesture by candidates to present to their constituents a “clean bill of health”.

“This is a magnanimous manifestation of the individual candidate’s support to the national anti-illegal drugs campaign and should be recognized by constituents as a personal display of leadership by example, especially among SK candidates who represent the youth sector,” said the top cop.

“This early, we do not foresee serious peace and order concerns on a national scale in the 2023 BSKE. The actions of some remaining active guerrilla fronts of the CPP-NPA are closely being monitored for possible atrocities,” he added.

According to the PNP chief, CPP/NPA actions during previous elections have been significantly reduced to extortion of permits to campaign fees, harassment, and gun for-hire of candidates.

“Let me caution candidates who will fall for this election racket of the CPP-NPA that any form of monetary or material support to the CPP-NPA, a terrorist organization, is tantamount to ‘terrorist financing’ that is punishable under Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. And if the donor or giver is an incumbent Barangay or SK official, the crime is further aggravated by willful disloyalty to their oath of office,” he said.

The PNP chief said appropriate security measures will also be given by the Police Security Protection Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Antonio C. Yarra to any candidate who will request for police security for fear of their lives.

He added that he has received some letters from prospective candidates requesting for PSPG security.

Yarra said their regional security and protection offices will process the application papers of those requesting for police protection. He added that the written request must first be approved by the PNP chief and they have to present a threat assessment validation.

The PSPG director said authorized candidates may have at least one PSPS security plus one or two protective agents. The availment of not more than six security personnel however will be subject to the approval of the Office of the President.

Acorda said they are watching previous election watchlist areas (EWAS) together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Declaring an area under Comelec control will be based on the recommendation of the three law enforcement agencies.

The PNP chief said that based on experience, local barangay and SK elections appear to be more prone to election-related violent incidents due to the presence of intense political rivalries.

“Extremes po kasi ang situation sa mga barangay, Minsan napakatahimik pero minsan me away-away na ang mga pamilya ng kandidato at mga supporters nila. Ito yung intense political rivalry,” he said.

However, Acorda said the magnitude of problem is not that big anymore compared to past elections particularly now that the PNP and the AFP have weakened many CPP-NPA guerrilla fronts in the countryside.


PNP Director for Operations, Brigadier Gen. Leo M. Francisco said Acorda has already approved the PNP Memorandum Circular 2023 regarding the BSKE which will serve as the ‘Bible’ of the police force in keeping the October polls as peaceful as possible.

“The Memorandum Circular is now being disseminated to all regional offices nationwide. Today, we are about to formulate and get inputs for our election monitoring system and then train or personnel on what they will do during the election period,” the official said.

Francisco said the MC will also be cascaded down to the provincial, city and municipal police offices.

Under the circular, police nationwide will be conducting an inventory of election-related incidents past and present; do a risk assessment of all barangay officials; conduct focused police operations against loose firearms and wanted persons; and initiate peace covenants with all government agencies concerned and the candidates themselves, the PNP Director for Operations said.