POLL WATCH. Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares (right), director of the Police Regional Office–Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, gives last-minute instructions to a police officer on May 13 to ensure orderly and peaceful elections. Mijares lauded on Saturday (May 18, 2019) the region’s stakeholders for the successful conduct of the mid-term polls. (Photo courtesy of PRO-BARMM)
COTABATO CITY -- The chief of the Police Regional Office - Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM) lauded on Saturday the region’s stakeholders for the successful conduct of the mid-term polls in the region.
“I commend the PRO-BARMM personnel and all the security forces for your invaluable contribution for delivering a safe, orderly and generally peaceful conduct of the 2019 mid-term elections in the region,” Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares, PRO-BARMM director, said in a statement released Saturday.
Mijares cited the coordination and collaboration between the Commission on Elections, the security sector, and the public in general, as major contributors to the historic peaceful balloting.
“For the first time in the history of the region’s conduct of national elections and local elections, the PRO-BARMM and its partners delivered a ‘no failure of election’ result in the May 13 polls,” he said.
The BARMM is oftentimes known to be affected by election-related incidents every polling period.
Mijares noted that during the 2010 national and local elections, “failure of elections” were declared in 17 municipalities across the region.
Without naming a specific area, he added that during the 2013 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, failure of balloting was also declared in one town.
“Concerning the 2019 polls, we are proud to make public that PRO-BARMM did not employ additional security personnel from other PROs despite security concerns on existing threat groups and intense political rivalries,” the police official said.
Mijares recalled that in the 2016 presidential elections, PRO-BARMM was augmented with 224 personnel from PRO 3 (Central Luzon) and PRO 4-A (Calabarzon). “Once again, with zeal and enthusiasm, we were able to prove that on our own we can do the job and excel,” he said.
During the recently concluded polls, the PRO-BARMM monitored only three election-related violent incidents as against 78 in 2013. Due to the preparations made by both the military and the police, the locally known terror groups failed to disrupt the conduct of elections in all provinces of BARMM, Mijares added.
In the same manner, he said that during the election campaign period, the police’s Task Force “Kontra Bigay” (vote buying) accosted 36 individuals buying votes and seized a total amount of PHP228,340 and five sacks of rice and T-shirts with candidates’ image printed on it.
Mijares said that since January 13 to date, 561 assorted firearms were recovered and surrendered in connection with the election gun ban while seven persons have been arrested for violating the election liquor ban.
Lastly, he commended the 500 personnel of PRO-BARMM who served as electoral board members where teachers refused or were unable to serve for various reasons.
The BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Marawi, Cotabato and Lamitan. (PNA)