By Martin Sadongdong
The number of election-related violent incidents recorded in the May 13 midterm polls went down by 55 percent compared to the 2016 presidential elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) revealed Friday.
Police Colonel Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, said a total of 60 incidents nationwide were reported to the police since the beginning of the election period on January 13 up to June 7. This was lower than the 133 incidents noted in 2016.
Banac said 51 poll-related violence were recorded from January to May 12 (pre-election); eight cases on May 13 or the election day itself; and one incident since then (post-election).
“There is a marked decrease of 55 percent in the number of election-related violent incidents. We attribute this to the early security preparations of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], PNP and Comelec [Commission on Elections],” Banac said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
The election-related violence resulted in the death of 23 persons and injury of 46 others, the PNP official added.
In the 2016 elections, Banac said 50 persons were killed.
While Banac said that the decrease in poll-related violence may be considered a big achievement for security and election authorities, he stressed that more work needs to be done as they set sights on the 2022 elections.
“As much as possible, we want to reduce it to the lowest level so we are still not contented that we have recorded 60 incidents,” he stated.
“In 2022, we will aspire for a lower number if not totally zero incident,” he vowed.
This year’s election period will end on June 12.
Meanwhile, the PNP has so far arrested 6,226 individuals in different police operations, such as checkpoints, patrol response, implementation of warrants of arrest and service of arrest warrants, buy-bust operations, and Oplan Sita, Galugad and Bakal during the election period.
The relentless campaign against loose firearms also resulted in the confiscation, recovery, and surrender of 5,191 firearms of various calibers and make.
A total of 49,499 various deadly weapons were also confiscated during the same period.
Banac also attributed the significant improvement in the overall peace and order situation of the election this year to the cooperation of the public.
“Malaking tulong ang use ng social media dahil mabilis na naipakalat ang information sa election laws. Mataas ang awareness ng ating mga kababayan kung ano ang mahigpit na mga ipinagbabawal (Social media has been very useful because of the quick dissemination of information pertaining to the election laws. The level of awareness among the public is high),” he said.