NCRPO chief: Metro Manila elections 'heated but not violent'
MANILA, Philippines – “Heated but not violent.”
That’s how National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar described the situation during the 2019 election period in Metro Manila.
In an interview with Rappler, Eleazar said that based on his calculations, the index crime rate during the first 4 months of 2019 was significantly lower by 19% than of the same period in 2018.
“Natapos na tayong 4 months and compared to the same period of last year, bumaba tayo ng 19%,” he said. “Election period na nga pero bumaba pa so relatively, ayos ang peace and order situation natin sa period na ito leading sa election.”
(We’ve finished with the 4 months and compared to the same period of last year, [index crime] went down by 19%. Election period but the figure went down so relatively, our peace and order situation in the period leading to the election is okay.)
Index crimes refer to crimes that the PNP considers as “serious” and which occur with “regularity.” (READ: Is your city safe? Understanding PNP crime statistics)
How did this happen? According to Eleazer, the Commission on Elections checkpoints set up in several parts of NCR may have contributed, together with the regional police’s focus on crime prevention.
“Probably because our police and security forces, may nagbabantay (there are those keeping guard),” he said. “Meron tayong Comelec checkpoints na set-up because anticipate nga na baka may violence kaya nakatutok tayo doon.”
(We have Comelec checkpoints set-up because we anticipate violence.)
Eleazer added that more than 1,500 firearms have been confiscated since the election gun ban started in January 13. It will last until June. (LIST: 2019 election-related bans)
The seized firearms include those surrendered to the PNP for safekeeping and those from operations, including in checkpoints and implementation of search warrants.
“Wala tayong private armed group [here in Metro Manila] na isa sa mga risk factors sa election but we’ve identified and monitored potential criminal gangs na pwedeng gawing gun-for-hire ang members na pwede magamit ngayong election period,” Eleazar said.
(We don’t have any private armed group in Metro Manila that can be considered as risk factors in elections but we’ve identified and monitored potential criminal gangs whose members can be gun-for-hire tapped during the election period.)
Violence have been reported elsewhere in the Philippines. According to Comelec, at least 20 people have been killed in election-related incidents while 43 incidents of election violence were nationwide as of May 12.
Among the 73 victims of these incidents, 20 were killed while 24 were hurt. – Rappler.com
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