PNP ready for duty in poll ‘hotspots’ : Albayalde

MANILA---The Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to augment election duties in areas found to be hostile for teachers to undertake election duties, PNP chief Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said Friday.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Cordillera where he conducted a troop inspection, Albayalde said it will be up to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to determine how to tap the PNP and whether policemen will be replacing teachers in certain areas.

"Depende sa request ng Comelec. Like in Kalinga may request na yung Comelec, then we will provide. Okay lang naman yun, we can always assist the Comelec lalo na doon sa mga critical areas na alam nila medyo delikado mga teachers. We can always provide also security for our teachers sa mga schools. (It depends on the request of the Comelec. Like in Kalinga, there is a request. We can always assist the Comelec especially in critical areas which maybe risky for teachers. We can also provide security for our teachers in schools," Albayalde said.

The PNP chief, however, said that there is a standing rule for policemen to stay 50 meters away from polling centers.

"Comelec can always request na makapasok itong mga pulis doon mismo sa polling center (Comelec can always request for the police to enter the polling center)," Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the PNP leadership is undertaking visits in provincial regions to check on the readiness of police units for the elections.

He said readiness is necessary in elections which tend to be more personal and emotional for candidates and their families.

"I think it's very important dahil alam naman natin barangay election may kasamang personal at emosyon. Alam natin ito na kama-kamag-anak, pami-pamilya, kaibigan. Mas intense kasi at personal (I think it is very important because we know that the barangay election some personal and 'emotional' factors. We know that some candidates are relatives, family members and close friends so it has become more intense and personal)," he added .

Upon assessment of the situation in election watch listed areas or "hotspots," the Comelec may seek police assistance from deployed PNP Regional Public Safety Batallion or the augmentation units from the military, Albayalde said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency