By NITZ ARANCON
NORTHERN Mindanao registered no election-related violence on Friday, first day of the over 40-day campaign period for local candidates, Camp Alagar said over the weekend.
Brig. Gen. Timoteo Pacleb, police director for Region 10, revealed this even as he announced that Camp Alagar would continue to fully implement the gun ban as provided for in the Omnibus Election Code until June 12.
Since Jan. 19, police said, they have seized 112 firearms while 46 others were surrendered throughout the region.
Police also said authorities have seized 24 explosives and over two thousand assorted bullets while 110 people were arrested since January.
“Kini atong mga na-aresto, la-in la-in ang mga kaso niini, ang uban atong nadakpan pina-agi sa search warrant ug ang uban nadakpan sa mga checkpoints,” Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Camp Alagar spokesman, told the Gold Star Daily.
In a press statement, Pacleb said, “We will maximize our personnel on the streets and increase the frequency of checkpoints in the region to help prevent election-related violent incidents from happening and deter criminals from executing their nefarious activities.”
Sereñas said about a thousand checkpoints were set up throughout Region 10 by the police and Commission on Elections.
Sereñas said the checkpoints factored in the absence of a report on election-related violence last week.
Aside from the firearms and ammunition, Camp Alagar said, police also took down 1,980 illegal campaign materials in the region.
Meanwhile, Pacleb ordered police unit commanders in the region to remain apolitical and non-partisan.
Reads part of his statement: “We must remain loyal to our sworn duties and maintain our non-partisan and impartial stance on political matters. We must do only what is right and legal. In so doing, we help insulate PRO 10 from the issues of partisan politics,” Pacleb said.
Camp Alagar however said it recorded violence in an outlying village in Gingoog City but it was not election-related but rather insurgency-related.
Sereñas said government forces from the 58th Infantry Battalion and New People’s Army rebels briefly exchanged firepower in Barangay Eureka in Gingoog City, on Friday morning the same day the NPA marked its 50th anniversary.
Capt. Regie Go, a spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said the armed encounter only lasted for about five minutes, and there was no casualty report.
Go said the soldiers went to the area because of information provided by civilians that the NPA had planned to burn the heavy equipment of a construction firm building a road in the outlying village.
“Napog-ngan sa atong mga sundalo ang da-otang plano sa mga rebilde. Wala nila madayon ang pagsunog sa mga heavy equipment sa usa ka contractor didto,” said Go.