Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday ordered all unit and area commanders to start their security preparation for the peaceful, honest and orderly national and local elections in May 2022.
This is because early security preparations were found to be effective in preventing election violence and other activities of next year’s polls, he said in a statement.
Eleazar also instructed all police commanders to closely monitor the activities of private armed groups and loose firearms which can be used to sabotage or influence next year’s elections in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
He also said they will also start coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines for election security in areas with a high presence of armed groups, especially the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The CPP-NPA, listed as the terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines, has been accused of extorting huge sums of money in exchange for access in areas where they usually operate.
The sum of money is collected from politicians through permits to campaign also serves as assurance that candidates will not be harassed.
“We have to make sure that they would be denied of this illegal activity so it is really important that we start early to study and anticipate any threat to the elections next year,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar earlier ordered commanders to help secure the ongoing voter registration of the Commission on Elections, especially when the poll body announced that it would extend the registration hours to 7 p.m. starting August 23.
The voter registration for next year’s elections will end on Sept. 30, 2021.