THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are already tightening security measures in preparation for the May 9 election.
AFP Chief of Staff General Andres C. Centino, PNP Director General Dionardo B Carlos, PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio M. Abu, and Commission on Election (Comelec) chairman Saidamen Balt Pangarungan attended the third Joint Command Conference at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo on April 8.
According to Col.l Jorry Baclor, the AFP’s Public Affairs Office chief, the joint command conference served as a venue to discuss updates on the Comelec’s deployment of vote counting machines, official ballots, and other election equipment, supplies, and paraphernalia.
“With the campaign period for both national and local posts in full swing, now more than ever, we in the AFP implore the troops deployed all over the country to remain vigilant against entities that may threaten or prevent our citizens from safely exercising their constitutional right to vote the next leaders of our nation, including our local government executives,” said General Centino.
Security updates were presented by the AFP and PNP as attendees were also apprised by the energy sector, electoral boards, and the Inter-Agency Task Forces for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Disease.
Also in attendance were duly-authorized representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Energy and Department of Education.
The Joint Cells of the JPSCC also attended the event while AFP commanders participated through video teleconference.
During the command conference, the AFP, PNP and PCG signed the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) Letter Directive Nr 02-2022 on Operational Guidelines for the National and Local Elections 2022.
Baclor said the directive outlines the policies and guidelines of the member agencies as deputized by the Comelec to conduct peace and security operations ensuring safe, accurate, free, and fair elections.
He added that the PNP will be responsible in taking the lead role in law enforcement operations, and assist the Comelec in the prosecution of election-related cases. The Coast Guard, on the other hand, will be responsible for law enforcement operations in coastal or maritime areas.
In the conduct of joint operations involving suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security, the AFP will be at the helm with PNP and PCG in the support role, he further said.
Pursuant to provisions of Comelec Resolutions No. 10755 and No. 10743, the AFP, PNP, and PCG shall provide security to polling places, including election materials that will be used in connection with the elections.
They will also provide security to Comelec personnel, its deputies and other persons performing election-related functions as well as make available land, air and watercraft assets, communication systems and other equipment to assist the commission.
Moreover, the government forces will prevent any armed group to commit acts of terrorism and threats to intimidate or coerce any person to vote for or against a candidate.
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