By LITO RULONA
and JOEY NACALABAN
CAMP Alagar has given marching orders to police officers fielded to various villages in the region: Be on guard against terrorists, criminals, armed groups, and election law violators.
The order, echoed by Camp Alagar spokesman Supt. Lemuel Gonda, came ahead of today’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Gonda said the officers tasked to secure poling centers should be able to identify any armed group organized to commit crime and carry out acts of terrorism or threaten candidates and voters.
The police regional office raised the alert level even as it reminded police offices in the provinces, cities and municipalities in northern Mindanao that their primary task is to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.
Gonda assured that Camp Alagar has deployed enough forces to serve in today’s elections.
Among the tasks of the police are to provide security at polling places and public facilities used for the elections, and secure election paraphernalia and equipment.
He said police security for Commission on Elections personnel and their deputies would also be tight today.
“All deployed personnel should coordinate with the Comelec regional director, provincial election supervisors, and election officers,” Gonda said.
He said the police and the military would also enforce election laws and rules, and none of them may serve as bodyguards of candidates.
Meanwhile, power distributors in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental assured there would be no blackouts today.
Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company senior vice president Ralph Paguio said Cepalco was assured by the Department of Energy that all measures were in place so that there would be zero power disruption of the power supply even a week after the elections.
“February pa nagsugod na kita og trabaho to prepare and check all facilities, especially in areas nga nag-supply og power to all school sites to be used as voting centers,” he said.
Paguio said Cepalco’s crews would be on stand-by mode today. “We have a quick response team, and the rest will be on call in case there is a major concern.”
In the western parts of province, the Misamis Oriental I Rural Electric Cooperative (Moresco I) said it is also prepared to answer all emergency calls pertaining to electricity even as it assured the public that no blackout has been scheduled in its area today.
“We are coordinating with the local municipal police stations in monitoring so that there will be no sabotage,” said Moresco I institutional services manager Edna Putian-Django.