Palace hails peaceful barangay, SK polls

MALACAÑANG yesterday hailed the generally peaceful conduct of the first ever electoral exercise under the Duterte administration.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing congratulated the duly elected officials who won the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

“[W]e thank everyone for the full support and cooperation in ensuring that the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections had been relatively peaceful and orderly in all regions of the country,” Roque stressed.

Citing data from the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) in Camp Crame, Roque said there were a total of 47 separate cases of violence since the election period began on April 14. Of these cases, only seven were validated to be election-related, he noted.

Although there was no serious threat monitored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with regard to the conduct of the polls, Roque said contingency measures were laid out by the government to ensure the people’s safety during the election period.

These include the deployment of sufficient number of specially trained and equipped AFP personnel in Commission on Elections-identified red areas, he stated.

The Palace Spokesperson noted there were a few isolated incidents of threats against Filipino teachers serving as election officers. In some cases, teachers who were not able to serve due to security issues were replaced by police officers.

On the other hand, Roque said those who did serve received cash cards from the government, including teachers in Bukidnon who were set to get their cash cards yesterday.

Furthermore, a total of 91 Temporary Operators Permit (TOPs) and Ordinance Violation Receipts (OVRs) were issued to various public and private vehicles by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT).

“Jeepneys bearing the signage of COMELEC, which were not authorized by the commission, were flagged down and meted with appropriate charges,” Roque said, citing DOTr’s previous warning to operators not to allow candidates to use their public utility vehicles (PUVs) to perform acts “inimical to the conduct of an Honest Orderly Peaceful Elections (HOPE).”