The Commission on Elections and its deputized agencies in the province of Catanduanes pronounced itself ready to hold the May 13, 2013 national and local elections.
In a coordinating conference with its partners held April 19 at the capitol dome, COMELEC provincial election supervisor Atty. Maria Aurea Bo-Bunao secured the assurance of the agencies regarding their commitment to the performance of their respective roles in the coming polls just two weeks away.
The municipal election offices are likewise ready to do their vital jobs of supervising the elections, with several election officers reassigned to other towns as their relatives were running for municipal posts. They are acting EO Lina Vicente (Bagamanoc), EO Elmer Magtangob (Baras), EO Amelia Arizabal (Bato), EO Eden Icamen (Caramoran), EO Dina Espeleta (Gigmoto), EO Zaldy Vicente (Pandan), EO Ma. Rosa Villamartin (Panganiban), EO Belen Santelices (San Andres), EO Miguel Mendez (San Miguel), EO Rosalinda Tablizo (Viga), and EO Atty. Ednalyn Garcia (Virac).
The Catanduanes PNP laid out its security plan, from the provision of security personnel to PCOS machines, batteries, ballots, PCOS hubs, local treasury offices, and voting centers, as well as joining Oplan Baklas teams to tear down illegal campaign materials. They will be joined in this regard by the Philippine Army’s 83rd Infantry Battalion, whose soldiers and CAFGU Active Auxiliary companies will secure voting places in far-flung barangays.
Security will also be provided to vital installations like power and communications facilities, including the 16 Smart cellsites, 18 Globe sites and 2 Sun Cellular towers. More than half of the Catanduanes PNP’s complement will be deployed for election duties, Senior Superintendent Eduardo Chavez said, with the command requesting for an augmentation force from Camp Simeon Ola.
The 83rd IB reported that based on documents recovered from recent encounters, the New People’s Army will direct its Komite Subseksyon sa Iskwad (KSSI) units to collect Permit-to-Campaign fees from municipal candidates from mayor down to councilor while the larger Kilusan Larangang Gerilya (KLG) will concentrate on doing the same to provincial bets from congressman down to provincial board members. While no area in the province has been placed in the election watchlist, the Army said there is still a need to enhance security forces for the conduct of peaceful elections.
Power firms FICELCO and the National Power Corporation expressed their commitment to ensure uninterrupted, brownout-free elections. GM Samuel Laynes said co-op officials have been meeting with power providers to ensure availability of reliable power, barring any unforeseen circumstances like system overload and line trouble. He also said that effort is being made to synchronize the three hydro power plants as far as the setting of its protective devices is concerned in order to minimize blackouts.
Air21 manager Zenia Camba bared that all the PCOS machines have arrived and are already stored in a secure warehouse. Ballots will arrive beginning April 26 and will be transported to MTOs under police and Army escort. Final testing and sealing of the PCOS machines will be held May 6 at the clustered precincts where the equipment will stay until election day.
The Provincial Prosecution Office assured the people of its impartial stance on election cases and called on the AFP and the PNP to make sure supporting documents would be complete.
For its part, DepEd Catanduanes, on behalf of the Boards of Election Inspectors (BEIs), sought protection and security of all personnel on election duty in return for their commitment to serve with utmost integrity.