PNP says 2019 midterm ''generally peaceful'' but will not lower guard
As voting precincts closed, the Philippine National Police ( PNP) on Monday said the 2019 midterm election is “generally peaceful”.
“The 2019 national and local elections turned out to generally peaceful nationwide with no reported major untoward incident that affected the overall turnout of the electoral exercise,” Police General Oscar Albayalde said in a press briefing.
Despite incidents reported in some areas in Mindanao- which is considered as perennial tense area during elections, interrupted voting in some voting centers, and few cases of technical malfunction of vote counting machines, Albayalde said voting in 36,831 voting centers nationwide went ahead smoothly and orderly.
“100 percent of polling centers went operational around 2pm,” he said after six polling centers in Lanao del Sur were reported non-operational.
The PNP chief said a total of 517 police personnel acted as election board members in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera, Northern Mindanao and Zamboanga Peninsula.
Earlier he said the reason for police officers to act as election board members is because teachers did not arrive in polling centers.
On the areas under Comelec control, the PNP chief said they have not received any report of untoward incidents.
“So far no untoward incidents under Comelec controlled areas,” he said.
Albayalde said they monitored 23 significant incidents such as shooting, indiscriminate firing, illegal discharged of firearms, explosion, grave threats and harassments during the 12-hour election period.
“Investigation is still going on to verify which of these can be classified as election related incidents or not,” he said.
As of 1 pm, the number of election related incidents remained at 43 with 20 people recorded dead and 24 wounded.
On the enforcement of election laws, they have arrested around 5,500 persons for violation of the Comelec-imposed nationwide gun ban and 986 liquor ban violators.
“Our present level of operational readiness and vigilance will be maintained until the election process is completed,” said Albayalde.
In an early press briefing, Albayalde said they have started smoothly with 165,000 deployed police personnel.
“We are grateful that no one died from our side and to our people… We did well and we are still doing well,” said Albayalde.
“With the success of security operations, I would like to express my deep gratitude to all PNP personnel and thank the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other government agencies who have been part of this resounding accomplishment,” he said.
Albayalde said they will not lower their guard and all election security measures will be implemented in the succeeding days and weeks until the official culmination of the election period on June 12. Ella Dionisio/DMS