By APIPA P. BAGUMBARAN
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur –Police officers in Lanao del Sur are preparing to step in to perform election duties if there are no available teachers in the precincts during election day.
Police Provincial Director PCol. Christopher Panapan said some police officers have been undergoing training as Electoral Board members after they received a letter from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) requesting special electoral boards (EBs) from the Philippine National Police (PNP) because some teachers have declined to serve during the elections.
Under Republic Act 10756, Comelec requires public school teachers to serve as members of the board of election inspectors, now called electoral boards, “in cases where the peace and order situation so requires as determined by the Commission and where no qualified voters are willing to serve,” the police may be authorized to take the role as a last resort.
With this development, Panapan said the deployment plan that they already crafted will now change as some of the police officers included in the security deployment will act as EBs.
“The PNP and AFP, they can secure Lanao del Sur, but kapag yung personnel natin ay nagserve as electoral board mavavacate yung kung saan sila nakadeployed to serve security [if our personnel will serve as electoral boards, the area where they were deployed to provide security will be vacated],” he said.
However, Panapan is optimistic that the PNP of the Bangsamoro region will provide additional forces as an augmentation to the province.
Meanwhile, the provincial police director has called on the candidates and voting populace in the province to cooperate with the security forces to ensure a safe and orderly election.
He emphasized that the PNP and AFP are determined to serve the election to make it as safe as possible and successful but this would largely depend on the cooperation of the community and the candidates. (APB/PIA Lanao del Sur)