CALBAYOG CITY -- The Samar police provincial office has turned over 152 loose firearms to the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office and the Commission on Election (Comelec) as part of safety measures for the May 13 mid-term elections.
These firearms were surrendered by candidates, civilians and some uniformed personnel in Samar province. They temporarily turned it over to authorities for safekeeping after the expiration of licenses.
PNP-Eastern Visayas Regional Director, Brig. Gen. Dionardo Carlos and Comelec Assistant Regional Director Felicisimo Embalsado and representatives from various religious denominations led the Firearm Safekeeping Caravan held in this city on Saturday. The caravan covered the first legislative district of Samar province.
Historically, the election in the first district of Samar had been associated with violence as candidates hired private armed groups to intimidate voters and harass their opponents.
The PNP initiated the caravan to curb election-related violence.
The safekeeping of firearms is also an intervention plan to enhance public engagement, foster strong community involvement, and generate positive public sentiments.
“Now that these firearms are with us, we can be assured that these will never be used in illegal activities,” said Samar police provincial director, Col. Dante Novicio.
“We are taking away the possibility that politicians will use these firearms to commit violence,” he added.
Carlos assured candidates and voters that as the Comelec-deputized agency, they will make sure that the upcoming election will be peaceful and orderly. “This measures that the police have been undertaking is to ensure that on Election Day, we will have fewer risk factors.”
Highlighting the caravan is the peace covenant signing by candidates for a peaceful, credible and safe 2019 elections and the launching of Usapang Simbahan at Pulis (church and police linkages).
Embalsado said that the peace covenant should serve as a reminder for candidates not to resort to violence to ensure a peaceful and orderly election. He also reminded voters to choose leaders who can manage and develop policies that will fuel development and progress.
“I hope all of us will help one another because we need it to attain progress in our country,” the election official told reporters.
Local candidates present were Samar 1st district Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino, and Sto. Niño town Mayor Lilia A. Coñejos, and candidates for city and municipal councils. (PNA)