PNP chief: Bicol had ‘most peaceful’ 2016 elections

Rhadyz B. Barcia

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PNP chief: Bicol had ‘most peaceful’ 2016 elections
'Bicol had the most peaceful elections, with a 9.5 grade in a scale of 10,' says top cop Director General Ricardo Marquez

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said Bicol region had the “most peaceful” 2016 elections in the country.

“Bicol had the most peaceful elections, with a 9.5 grade in a scale of 10,” he said during his visit at Camp General Simeon A. Ola in Legazpi City for the assessment of the May 9 polls on Thursday, May 19.

The PNP, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, deployed about 2,000 troops to thwart election-related violence in the island province of Masbate.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier identified Masbate as one of the 6 areas of concern, following its history of election-related violence, and the presence of the New People’s Army and private armed groups.

But the 2016 polls turned out to be the most peaceful in history, Marquez said, following the strong cooperation of the public and government forces to prevent bloody elections.

“All problems are situation-driven. The problem in Mindanao may not be the same in Bicol….There are vulnerable sectors after elections…so protect the most vulnerable, or people may continue to die,” he told police officers on Thursday.

The outgoing PNP chief directed his men to continue working with stakeholders, specifically communities, and to be out in the streets at all times  to deter crime and keep people safe from lawless elements.

Marquez, who is set to retire in August 2016, had earlier said he would give his courtesy resignation to whoever will win the presidency in the 2016 elections.

The team of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte has already announced who will replace Marquez: Police Chief Superintendent Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, the former police chief of Davao City. (READ: Duterte’s ‘Bato’: Who is Ronald dela Rosa?)

On Thursday, Marquez awarded police officers for the success of the 2016 elections in the Bicol Region, starting with Bicol Regional Director Chief Superintendent Augusto Marquez, who received the Medalya ng Pambihirang Paglilingkod (PNP Special Service Medal).

The award is for the regional chief’s meritorious and invaluable service in the field of police operations as commander of the Regional Task Force Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2016.

His leadership contributed to the prevention and suppression of crimes, and the effective enforcement of laws that resulted to the confiscation of 413 loose firearms, the arrest of 1,046 wanted persons, and the dismantling of 10 private armed groups.

These accomplishments significantly contributed to a high turn-out of voters in the Bicol region, as there was a greater security and a high sense of confidence to exercise the right to vote.

Aside from Marquez, 19 others were awarded on for the success of the 2016 elections in the region. – Rappler.com

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