Comelec, Gov’t Forces In Davao Ready For Monday’s Election

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the over 7,000-strong police and military forces in Davao are ready for Monday’s elections, with about 2.8 million voters across the Davao Region expected to cast their votes.

Lawyer Krisna Caballero, Comelec-11 spokesperson, said the 1,139 vote counting machines have been deployed in all polling places in Region 11.

Caballero said the VCMs will be tested and sealed on Thursday, May 9, to ensure that they are functioning.

She said Comelec has contingencies should any of the VCM is found to be non-serviceable or malfunctioning.

Comelec has also trained police officers who will be tapped as members of Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) as a contingency when the need arises, she added.

“The police officers will only be the last recourse,” she said, adding that Comelec guidelines also allow individuals from the private to be tapped as substitutes.

Likewise, the Department of Education in Region 11 (DepEd-11) said its 7,552 teachers are ready to serve as members of election boards.

DepEd-11 spokesperson Jenielito Atillo reminded teachers who will serve in far-flung barangays on their “serious responsibility in safeguarding the ballots.”

Atillo said they are confident of the teachers’ security while serving remote areas, where the presence of communist rebels is common.

On the part of the police and the military, Police Col. Eden Ugale said the region’s joint monitoring center has been operational and that the Police Regional Office-11 will be focusing more on Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur because of intense political rivalry.

Ugale, who’s the PRO-11 deputy director for operations, noted that both provinces have a presence of armed groups.

Col. Alexander Tagum, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, said a total of 52 barangays in the city will be given priority because of previous incidents involving local armed groups.

This means, Tagum said, each polling area will be manned by a police team.

Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson, said they have already activated all military units down to the barangay level to secure polling areas. (PNA)

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