Poll-related violence in Cordillera drops

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CAMP DANGWA, LA TRINIDAD, Benguet: The Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PROCOR) reported a significant decrease in the number of violent incidents in the region during the 2016 campaign period.

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Data showed that from April 2015 up to April 2016, there were only 96 killing incidents recorded in the region, which is lower than the 113 incidents during the same period in 2012, or a year before the 2013 elections up to April 2013.

Police Chief Supt. Ulysses Abellera, regional director, said that the figure is a drop of about 15 percent in the number of shooting incidents.

Of the provinces in the region, Abra and Kalinga registered a decrease in the number of violent incidents. Abra posted a drop of 24 cases from 61 to 37 for this period, while Kalinga has five incidents, a drop from 16 to only 11.

For the 2016 synchronized polls, Abra was placed under Commission on Elections (Comelec) control owing to its history of political violence resulting in the death of politicians and supporters.

However, other provinces registered a slight increase in shooting incidents, as in Apayao, from 6 to 13; Baguio, from 10 to 12; Benguet, from 9 to 10 and Ifugao, from 9 to 11; and Mt. Province, with 2 killings, the same as in the previous election period.

A PRO-COR graph on the yearly trend also registered an all-time low of 69 shooting incidents in 2015, compared with the 91 in 2012; about 71 cases in 2013 and 100 in 2014.

If the data in 2014 is the basis, the 69 incidents can be considered a dramatic decrease and should be a welcome development.

Abellera said that they attribute the drop in violent incidents to the relentless campaign against loose firearms, the conduct of checkpoints, police presence and engagement with firearms holders and politicians.

He explained that while the results are slow, they are hopeful because the community is now coming to realize that killing is not a way to solve problems and attain peace in the region.

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