LEGAZPI CITY, Albay (PIA) – – For the first time, the Philippine National Police, in coordination with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), has deployed almost 200 police information officers to serve as vanguards for local media during the election season.
This is a milestone for both the government and the media as it ensures protection of the journalists and media practitioners under life threats and violence, said Police Major Maria Luisa Calubaquib, information officer of Police Regional Ofice 5.
Through media security vanguards, the officer explained, the local media can lobby their requests for assistance. Areas of responsibility within the region have been identified for a closer and timelier response.
“We assure a safe and peaceful press coverage in the season of the national and local elections. We also ask the cooperation of the public to relay information on violations of laws and policies so that we can proactively take actions,” Calubaquib said.
Police efforts on peaceful elections
To achieve peaceful nationwide elections come May 2022, Calubaquib said that they have deployed more personnel in Masbate province.
“Last year, we were able to deploy some 2,000 police officers in Masbate and we plan to add the number for this year to ensure that election-related activities are free from threats and violence. This will also balance the functions between the police and the military in the area,” Calubaquib said.
The modernized technology used for checkpoint operations like body cameras, Calubaquib said, has become significant in real-time reporting intended for the elections.
In February, the PNP has recorded a total of 5, 520 cases in violation to the gun ban. Of these, 47 personalities were arrested, and 28 firearms and even deadly weapons were confiscated. Masbate keeps the highest number of violators followed by Camarines Sur and Sorsogon with both seven cases.
The information officer also clarified that in the implementation of Oplan Baklas, the only role of the PNP is to secure and protect the COMELEC personnel. All police officers are reminded that they are not allowed to touch and strip off any campaign materials.
Calubaquib added that their police stations are open to welcome reports and cooperation from the public to seize lawbreakers of the land. (KAVB/PIA5)