In Eastern Visayas

PALO, Leyte – The recently-held barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections held last May 14 was the region’s ‘most peaceful’ in decades.
This was declared by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police which pulled out its deployed personnel just two days after the conduct of the barangay and youth elections.
“Thank you to the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).Their presence was deterrent to people who were planning to disturb the election process,” Comelec Regional Director Jose Nick Mendros said.
“We have not experienced any violent incident and all precincts functioned,” he added.
But the elections in Barangay Diet de Turag in Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar were held a day late due as the members of elections tellers were stopped by a group of individuals while they were on their way to the village on May 14.
Winners in the said village, which has more than 300 voters, were proclaimed Tuesday (May 15) afternoon.
About 2,700 police and soldiers were deployed in almost all areas in the region to ensure that the barangay and SK elections here would turn out to be peaceful and orderly.
Earlier, the PNP and the Comelec had identified 284 barangays in the region as concerned areas or where election-related violence could happen.
On Thursday (May 17), the 990 policemen and women who were given poll duties were pulled out from their respective assignments, a strong indication that the conduct of the balloting was peaceful and orderly.
“This happened because you were on the ground. You were with the people to secure them. As officials, our job is to supervise, give guidance and direction but all the hard work is with you. So we are thankful for the sacrifices and on what you did to ensure that the election is peaceful and secure,” Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz, police regional director, said.
Cruz added that the presence of police and military also resulted for more voters to cast their votes at their respective polling precincts.
The Comelec projects that the turnout of votes in the region could be more than 85 percent.
During the 2013 barangay elections, several villages in the region experienced failure of balloting with election-related violence recorded at more than 100.

BY: Roel T. Amazona