visayas.politics.com.ph

PNP identifies 2 major concerns for WV elections

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Distance and accessibility of several voting precincts remain the top security concerns of the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Elections in Western Visayas.

Comelec 6 regional election director Jose Nick Mendros said their major concerns include the distribution of election equipment from the warehouse in Metro Manila to the polling centers.

“We are concerned with the distribution from municipalities to polling centers because there are areas that the equipment needed to be delivered two to three days prior to the elections for the final testing and sealing,” Mendros said.

“It’s a challenge for us. We’re still studying if we could do the final testing and sealing in town propers, as not to stretch the security personnel,” he added.

Western Visayas police chief Police Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao said this is particularly true for voting centers in mountainous areas.

He noted the mode of transportation in most mountainous areas is hiking.

Bulalacao cited as an example barangays in Valderrama town in Antique province, where accessibility is difficult especially during rainy season.

There are 3,555 voting centers in Western Visayas, including 1,349 in Iloilo province and 696 in Negros Occidental; 521 in Antique; 464 in Capiz; 328 in Aklan; 89 in Guimaras; 62 in Iloilo City; and 45 in Bacolod City.

While the Comelec and PNP consider 2,959 voting centers easily accessible, 422, are deemed “difficult” and 175 voting centers are “very difficult.”

In turn, of the 175 “very difficult” polling centers, 81 are in Antique.

Mendros and Bulalacao also cited some areas with limited mobile phone signal coverage.

Based on records, there are 491 police centers without Smart Communications connection while 447 have no Globe Telecom, while 152 areas lack telecommunications services.

Bulalacao also cited the “human challenge” where politicians reportedly use or enlist private armed groups (PAGs) or goons.