By Lesley Vestil
Cebu City – The Commission on Elections (Comelec), Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine National Police (PNP) in Central Visayas are fully prepared for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May.
Military, police, and Comelec officials held a command conference Wednesday to check security preparations for the elections.
Comelec Central Visayas Director Rafael Olaño said they are still coordinating with PNP and AFP in identifying poll hotspots.
Olaño said that in picking out potential trouble areas, they look at what happened at an area during previous elections and the officials who are running.
Olaño said the postponement of the elections last year gave them more time to prepare.
He said he is not expecting any widespread violence in May because barangay elections are usually nonpartisan activities.
But he did not discount the possibility of personal feuds erupting into violence.
Chief Supt. Rolando Felix, director of Police Operations said they are gathering information on village officials who were involved in drugs and who are standing as candidates.
Felix also said the gun ban will be implemented beginning April 14 and only people with Comelec authorization can carry firearms.
The Cebu Provincial Election Office also reminded aspiring candidates to avoid campaigning before they file their candidacies next month.
Cebu Provincial Election Officer Ferdinand Gujilde said candidates are prohibited from aligning themselves with political parties or incumbent elective officials.
“Collective endorsement of a political party to an aspiring candidate for the barangay and SK elections is strictly prohibited and should be avoided out of propriety,” Gujilde said.
Elected officials cannot attend the campaign sorties of aspiring candidates or give donations to assist a candidate’s campaign.
Some election materials had already arrived at the Cebu City treasurer’s office. Among them are ballot secrecy folders, ballot padlocks, Comelec election form, ballpens and bond paper.