THE Police Regional Office 2 (PRO2) headed by Brigadier General Steve B. Ludan has launched a massive effort to promote peace and security in the region by asking for unity among all candidates in the run-up to the May 9 national elections, the Journal Group learned on Saturday.
Recently, Ludan led the conduct of a unity walk, a candidates’ forum, and a peace covenant signing in Enrile, Cagayan which has been identified as one of the municipalities under the “Red” category in the province as assessed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate for Intelligence.
Officials from the Comelec Region 2 office, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), different PRO2 stakeholders, and candidates for local positions in the municipality joined the event.
A similar event was also held in Tuao, Cagayan where local candidates participated and signed a peace covenant during ceremonies led by PRO2 Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Col. Ramil Saculles.
In 2019, Comelec declared the entire Mindanao Island group as well as Jones, Isabela, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, and the entire Abra province under Category Red which warrants the motu proprio augmentation of PNP and AFP personnel in those areas as the need arises.
The Category Red classification refers to areas where there are previous poll-related violence or the existence of intense partisan political rivalry as well as serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups led by the New People’s Army (NPA) and other analogous armed groups, thus necessitating the need to place them under Comelec control.
Brig. Gen. Ludan said they are embarking on a region-wide program as part of the PNP’s effort to have a Secure, Accurate, Free and Fair or S.A.F.E. Elections 2022.
Thus, he has urged all PRO2 officers and men to keep themselves abreast of the latest policies on law enforcement, crime prevention, and public safety to ensure the public and their security while performing their election duties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 virus remains a threat to everyone, thus the minimum public health standards must still be observed during the exercise of official functions,” Brig. Gen. Ludan told his men.
Cagayan Police Provincial Office (Cagayan PPO) director Col. Renell R. Sabaldica said that the municipality of Enrile recorded a history of election-related incidents during the 2019 mid-term polls.
This is the reason why the Cagayan PPO has doubled its security measures in the municipality and other parts of the province with the conduct of an intensified effort to account for loose firearms, drugs, and private armed groups and to strictly enforce the election gun ban ahead of the May 9 polls.