Comelec to hold FTS on Friday

TAGBILARAN CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that the final testing and sealing (FTS) of vote counting machines will be simultaneously held on May 6, (Friday) regionwide.

Malou Cempron said in interview yesterday that the FTS will be centralized in each of the 47 towns in one place considering that holding FTS every barangay wouldn’t be practical due to lack of policemen, except this city.

Security measures are all set to ensure a peaceful and oderly May 9 elections but police personnel deployment during election is inadequate.

Police provincial director Col. Dennis Agustin told Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting recently that a total of 988 men in uniform are needed to comply with the Comelec’s order.

Agustin said that Comelec requires that at least two police officers should be assigned in every clustered polling center.

If the total of 1,066 poll centers province-wide multiplied by two PNP men, there would be 2,132 police officers needed to man the election, he said.

There’s only a total of 1,144 policemen excluding those already assigned on other tasks, hence the balance of 988.

Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) led by Agustin reportedly ordered its men in uniform especially in the municipalities to be always alert to prevent any commission of crime as the elections are just six days away.

One concrete example of police duty, the source said, is the conduct of check points daily in strategic areas and other police visibility.

Based on the minutes of previous meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, political violence has been well considered. The Council identified as ingrdients that may initiate “a volatile election situation in Bohol.” These include the “intense rivalry between town, district and provincial candidates.”

“Possible election watchlist areas (EWA) are the following: Buenavista, Antequera, Clarin, Bilar, Ubay, Cortes and Danao. While their main representations are coherent of violence, the animosity of partnership among followers ishard to control.” Tubigon town is already included under EAWs.

Still part of the assessment on political violence, the PPOC said, is the narco-criminal politics in the province.

“Narco and criminal politics in Bohol is not just a trans-shipment but haven of drugs pushers and users. Drug money is suspected of being used to fund election activities of some.”

It continues, “The gun for hire lucrative industry proven that there are deadly assassins in the province, loose firearms and funds to finance assassination. Drug syndicates/criminal groups want to maintain their preserve and many times political protection. They are threats to candidates openly campaigning for their eradication.”

Meanwhile, BPPO said that the campaign against criminality is without letup. BPPO together with the highway patrol group it is posting reminder to citizens concerned with tarp posted in areas.

The reminders are the following: “Strictly prohibited on the road: Drivers without license, carnapped vehicles, minors who drive, drivers without helmet, unregistered vehicles, back-riding minor passengers, vehicles without license plate numbers, noisy illegally modified mufflers “bora-boar,” and motorcycle riders wearing shorts and slippers. (rvo)

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