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GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – A thousand cops will be deployed to serve as election inspectors in Lanao del Sur after most public school teachers backed out from serving during the October barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
Bangsamoro region police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza disclosed this as he recommended placing under Commission on Elections (Comelec) control all 248 barangays in the region – barangays that are under the orange category or areas of immediate concern.
Being under Comelec control means the constitutional body serves as the primary authority in enforcing law and order in a locality.
The police earlier tagged 32 villages as areas of grave security concern or places where there is a high possibility that violence will erupt during the elections.
Nobleza said that based on a Comelec inventory of teachers in Lanao del Sur, a substantial number of them do not intend to serve during the October elections.
Aside from fear of possible violence, many teachers opt not to serve in the polls because of conflict of interest and being relatives of candidates in the places where they will serve.
Lanao del Sur is one of the provinces that is being closely monitored for possible election-related violence. All three election-related violence recorded in the Bangsamoro the past weeks transpired in Lanao del Sur.
Nobleza said they are now training cops who will serve as poll clerks.
To help resolve the inadequate number of cops in the region, Nobleza said they have already ordered the return of police officers who are currently on schooling and have ordered the recall of police escorts assigned with local officials.
In Maguindanao del Sur, Comelec provincial supervisor Allan Kadon said cops will be manning poll precincts in Pandag town, after most teachers there signified that they cannot serve during the October polls.
Kadon mentioned this on Wednesday, September 27, as he bared that at least 280 cops are currently on training to serve as reserve members of the board of election inspectors in Maguindanao del Sur’s nine towns that were identified as areas of security concern.
The nine towns include Pandag, South Upi, Datu Piang, Buluan, Datu Salibo, Sultan Sa Barongis,Pagalungan,Rajah Buayan and Datu Paglas.
With the situation in the nine towns, Kadon said residents and voters will be safer with policemen serving in polling precincts.
“It will also help ensure the integrity of the elections,” he said. – Rappler.com