THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has placed three more problematic areas under its direct and immediate control in the upcoming national and local elections because of intense rivalries among candidates and the surge of election related violent incidents.
Commissioner Sheriff Abas on Wednesday said these areas are Marawi City in Mindanao, the province of Abra in Northern Luzon and Samar province in Eastern Visayas.
“It’s approved in principle but it will be carried. We are just waiting for the resolution,” Abas added.
Marawi City, according to Abas, has been problematic with history of violent incidents among rival political factions.
Similarly, Abra has also a long history of election-related incidents brought about by the intense rivalry between the Valera and Bersamin clans.
For Samar, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan has informed the Comelec that a total of 24 incidents, including killings and intimidation, have already been documented in the province.
Tan on Monday requested Comelec to place the province under its immediate and direct control.
Earlier, the Comelec also placed under its control the town Pantar in Lanao del Norte.
Areas found to have stream of election-related violence (ERVI) with within the election period can be placed under the direct control and supervision of the poll body.
Abas explained that areas under Comelec control would be saturated by government security forces and all permits for gun ban exemption are also suspended.
“One of the effects is the suspension of issued permits for exemption. Basically, nobody will be allowed to carry firearms (except for uniformed police and military personnel). All permits for exemption are automatically cancelled,” Abas added.
A Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP), headed by Commissioner Al Parreno, was tasked by the En Banc to ensure the conduct of free, peaceful, orderly, honest and credible elections in areas under Comelec control.
The CBFSP will supervise and control the administrative activities and transactions of local government units under Comelec control, including the distribution, assignment and deployment of police and military personnel to ensure strict compliance with the elections bans and prohibitions.
When necessary, the CBFSP, may substitute a whole unit of the police force assigned in the locality concerned with another police unit.
It can also relieve any police or military officer or personnel who may be found unsuitable for continuance in his present assignment, and revoke as well all exemptions under the firearms ban to candidates and their bodyguards.
Except, when prior approval or authority of the En Ban is required, the CBFSP decisions and orders shall be final and immediately executory, unless modified, reversed or revoked by the Commission.