SECURITY WATCH | Duterte issues memo on ‘peaceful and orderly’ Bangsamoro vote

2 months ago

(JANUARY 11, 2019) – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered law enforcement agencies to coordinate with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in ensuring a peaceful and orderly Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite on January 21.

Duterte signed Memorandum Order No. 34 deputizing the Armed forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other law enforcement agencies for the upcoming plebiscite on the ratification of the landmark Republict Act No. 11054 or BOL.

“The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agencies are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the COMELEC in the performance of their duties and functions,” the document, signed on December 28 and released to the media on Friday, read.

The president likewise issued a separate memorandum mandating the said law enforcement agencies to work with COMELEC in ensuring tightened security on the upcoming local and national elections.

Earlier, the PNP said it would roll out a “massive and relentless” security plan in preparation for the midterm elections on May 13.

So far, the agency has identified 18 “election hotspots” to be monitored for possible outbreak of violence attributed to their history of violence in previous elections, as well as the supposed presence of communist rebels and other groups.

Among those listed by the PNP were cities and municipalities in the Ilocos Region and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, particularly Basilan and the Lanao area.

PNP Chief P/Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde last month said authorities would conduct weekly assessment to determine if there’s a need to place these areas under COMELEC control.

The poll body is considering placing Cotabato City and Daraga, Albay under its control for the BOL plebiscite and the midterm elections, respectively.

This was in connection to the New Year’s eve bombing in Cotobato City that killed two people and the ambush of AKO Bicol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe last December 22.

Campaigning for local positions will start on March 30. The senatorial campaigning meanwhile will begin on February 12.