POLICE and military forces in Western Visayas have mapped out initial security plans for the midterm elections in May 2019.
The Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center 6 (RJSCC-6), which is composed of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), was formally launched Jan 10.
The launching also served as the first regional Comelec-AFP-PNP Coordinating Conference.
Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec regional director, led the launching followed by the signing of the Joint SOP on the Security Operations and Safety Coverage for the conduct of the 2019 national and local elections.
Lt. Colonel Darrel Bañez of the 31D and Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, PRO-6 Regional Intelligence Division Chief, presented the current security, peace and threat situation in the region.
Since it was the RJSCC’s first meeting, Ausan said they still have to discuss information pertinent to the declaration of certain areas under the election watchlist areas of concerns or EWAs.
“But basically, the parameters are still the same,” he said.
These parameters include intense political rivalry, presence of insurgents, and violence in the past elections, among others.
The conduct of checkpoints was also discussed with emphasis on areas where they would be set up.
Brigadier Gen. Eric Vinoya, 3ID assistant division commander, confirmed that military personnel would augment the PNP in the conduct of checkpoints.
But these areas will still be discussed.
The election period, which will run from Jan. 13, 2019 to June 12, 2019, also signals the start of the gun ban.
Senior Superintendent Remus Zacharias Canieso, PRO-6 deputy regional director for operations, said the gun ban will be strictly enforced and those who will be caught carrying firearms, without the necessary permit, will be penalized.
While there are no specific threats discussed, Ausan has called on the candidates to serve as an example in pushing for clean, fair and peaceful elections.