Dionardo B. Carlos

PNP reviewing security preparations for holidays season, 2022 polls

December 13, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 316 views

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief General Dionardo B. Carlos on Monday said they are reviewing the security preparations of their field commanders for the holiday season and the May 2022 elections.

“We will look at what they have done since last November 16. We will look at the performance of our regional directors as part of our benchmarking, what they have done following my instructions,” said the top cop before he presided over his second command conference at Camp Crame.

According to Gen. Carlos, they will conduct a weekly review of the preparations of the 17 police regional offices as they embark on another mission to ensure an honest, orderly and peaceful polls next year.

The PNP top brass will also meet their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard to counter-check their respective records of election areas of concern or the so-called ‘poll hot spots.’

The PNP, AFP and PCG form the backbone of the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council set to carry out election duties next year.

So far, PNP Director for Intelligence Brigadier Gen. Michael John F. Dubria said they are validating the situation in 488 towns and 58 cities around the country with known previous election-related violent incidents.

There are a total of 1,438 municipalities and 146 cities in the country. Of the 146 cities, 33 are highly-urbanized cities, five are independent component cities while the rest being component cities of their respective provinces.

Brig. Gen. Dubria said that being subjected to validation prior to their declaration as ‘hot spots’ are 39 municipalities or just three percent of the total 1,438 and seven or five percent of the total 146 cities. These places are initially considered as ‘critical areas under guard’ by security forces, the official said.

He added that these areas are located in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol region, Western Visayas and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Gen. Carlos said that the figures given by Dubria were mere PNP data which will be subject to validation by the JPSCC.

“Most of them are in BARMM but right now, we want green areas to stay green and yellow areas to turn into green,” he said.

During the 2019 mid-term election, the Commission on Elections declared the entire Mindanao island as Category Red Election Hotspot.

The Mindanao Island Group was joined by other Category Red hotspots Jones, Isabela; Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; and the entire province of Abra.

The Category Red classification may warrant the motu proprio declaration of Comelec Control over the area and the Comelec En Banc may direct the augmentation of PNP and AFP personnel as the need arises.

The declaration was made in the wake of suspected election-related incidents in the last two elections, together with serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters , Abu Sayyaf Group and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front and/or Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other analogous groups.

The Comelec, the PNP and the AFP identify and classify election hotspots using the following system of classification: Category Green, referring to areas of no security concern and are relatively peaceful and orderly; Category Yellow, referring to areas with a history of election related violence or the existence of intense partisan political rivalry, but without the participation of domestic terror groups;

Category Orange, referring to areas where, in addition to conditions that would qualify an area as Category Yellow, there are likewise serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups and other analogous armed groups; and Category Red, referring to areas where, while being under Category Orange, the relevant government agencies declare the existence of conditions which may constitute grounds for the declaration of Comelec control.

Gen. Carlos said he wants the full utilization of his men during the election period and will study the forward deployment of members of their Reactionary Standby Support Force in places they are needed. He said they will just retain a small force of the RSSF at their headquarters.

The PNP will be the main law enforcement agency set to enforce the nationwide gun ban from January 9 to June 8, 2022.

The PNP chief said that all Permits-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence issued to licensed gun-holders during the period will be automatically suspended with the Comelec the only agency authorized to issue gun ban exemption permits to qualified individuals including persons considered as ‘high-risk.’