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PNP awaits money needed to secure October 28 village polls

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MANILA, Philippines – With barely a week before the Oct. 28 barangay (village) elections, the Philippine National Police said Tuesday it was waiting, along with the military, for the of P400 million to fund various election-related security operations.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP spokesperson, said the Commission on Elections has so far released only P100 million of the original P500-million budget that the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines had asked.

In a command conference with police and military officials two weeks ago, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the poll body would look for ways to raise the funds since Congress had allocated only P100 million for PNP and AFP personnel performing election duties.

“Even with this lack of budget, our police officers will still carry out our duties. We just have to improvise and innovate,” Sindac told a news briefing at Camp Crame.

He said the requested budget would be used for the food allowance of soldiers and policemen and other logistical requirements, such as fuel for patrol vehicles.

Although national elections were more challenging for government security forces, the PNP spokesperson said elections at the barangay level were usually more intense as rival candidates were familiar with one another.

“While barangay elections are more manageable, they are more violent because the rivalry is closer to home and closer to the heart. We expect the rivalry to be more intense at the grassroots level,” he said.

The PNP disclosed earlier that 7,060 barangays,  or about 14 percent of the more than 42,000 barangays throughout the country, had been identified as election hot spots due to intense political rivalries and the presence of rebels in those places. Most of them are located in Compostela Valley, Central Mindanao, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Central Visayas and the Bicol region.

Since the election period started on Sept. 28, Sindac said, the police have recorded 20 cases of election-related violence in which 15 people were killed and 21 others wounded.

Among those killed in 19 shooting incidents and one stabbing attack were two barangay chairmen, five council members, one municipal official and seven civilians.

Police have arrested 451 persons, among them five policemen and four soldiers, for violating the election gun ban.

Sindac said various PNP units have also confiscated a total of 364 firearms, 15 toy guns, 44 bladed weapons, 2,721 bullets and 150 grenades and other explosive devices.

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