By FRED M. LOBO
President Duterte has ordered concerned government agencies to help secure the May 13 midterm elections.
Prevent violence, power supply interruptions, teachers’ inconvenience, and related problems, he said.
The President discussed preparations of concerned government agencies for the May 13 elections at Monday’s Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Ensure free, peaceful, and credible midterm elections, he told the military, police, and other concerned agencies.
Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
confirmed that “most of our forces have already been pre-deployed in preparation for the elections.”
Seventy percent of military strength or 98,000 soldiers committed to the polls, he said.
PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde said the PNP has laid out all the necessary security measures and is “nearly 100 percent prepared” for the May 13 national and local elections.
Some 149,830 police personnel will serve as security forces for the midterm polls, he assured.
“Our troops are ready for the job. While we expect security threats to continue and lawless elements to disrupt the elections in some areas, I must say we are fully prepared to face and address challenges that may come our way,” he said.
Panelo added that the Department of Energy has assured that the country will have “sufficient” power supply in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
No brownouts, disruptions, and “magicians” on election day.
Teachers who will serve on Election Day will receive honoraria and travel allowances, the Department of Education said.
Just compensation or “pampalubag-loob” for hardworking ma’am and sir.
The President, meanwhile, asked the people to vote for administration candidates, especially for the Senate, in rallies of the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakasng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
I need their support for good governance and priority programs, he said.
Duterte pitched for PDP-Laban’s five candidates Maguindanao Representative Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, Senator Pimentel, and former Political Adviser Francis Tolentino. He also endorsed re-electionist Senators Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, and JV Ejercito, as well as Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, and singer Freddie Aguilar.
The high ratings of many DU30 candidates “reflects the public’s support for the Duterte Administration and shows that voters appreciate what the current government has done to improve their lives” and that people want “continuity” in the government’s current programs, PDP-Laban head Sen. Koko Pimentel III said.
The Otso Diretso opposition ticket has also determinedly campaigned for their senatorial candidates for a “balanced” Senate composition.
“I think this coming election will determine whether the Senate will be independent or not,” senatorial candidate Chel Diokno, son of the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno, said at the Manila Bulletin Hot Seat roundtable discussion.
“Because the majority of those likely to get elected belong to the administration, they will support any moves by the President,” Diokno said.
“Which means, issues like federalism and other major issues will probably get through the Senate if that happens,” he added.
Otso Diretso’s candidates are Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV, former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Rep. Erin Tanada, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal and Chel Diokno.
Go for the 8 alternative “senatoriables,” the group appealed.
However, re-electionist Senator Koko Pimentel III said that the Senate will remain independent even with the possibility that allies of President Duterte would secure the majority of seats in the chamber after the May 13 midterm elections.
The Senate will not be a rubber stamp of the Duterte administration, he assured.
“The Senate will still be independent after this election, even with the new composition. Ganoon naman po kami (We have been like that ever since),” Pimentel said at the Manila Bulletin’s Hot Seat interview.
“In the first place, under the Duterte administration, he (President Duterte) does not interfere with our work,” the former Senate chief said.
Other independent senatorial candidates such as Neri Colmenares, Jiggy Manicad, Mel Chavez, and Ding Generoso also made last-minute appeal to voters.
Consider us for our advocacies and change, they said.
The President maintained that Filipino voters should be allowed to choose freely in the May 13 polls.
Yes to clean and free midterm elections– to reflect the maturity of Filipino voters and pave the way for speedy national progress.