Lingayen- - -The Pangasinan-Police Provincial Office (PPO) headed by its new Officer-in-Charge P/SSupt. Edgar Allan Omas Okubo made an assurance that the province will have a peaceful and orderly conduct of elections on May 9.
| OIC Pangasinan Provincial Director|
P/SSupt. Edgar Allan Omas Okubo
This was affirmed by the new PNP OIC after Pangasinan was named as the number one election hot spot in the country.
Okubo, who assumed office as OIC of the Pangasinan police on January 8, replacing P/SSupt. Rolie Saltat, who was OIC of the Pangasinan Police for six months.
During the question hour of the provincial board’s regular session on February 1, Okubo outlined his plans and programs for peace and order especially during the upcoming national polls.
Okubo said that although Pangasinan was included as one of the election hot spots, it does not mean that the May polls will be chaotic.
As initial step, Okubo said the PNP will assess all problems, increase checkpoints every day and conduct search warrants when necessary. These, according to him, are part of the PNP’s ‘advance security preparations.’
When asked why Pangasinan was named as number one hot spot throughout the country, the new police OIC simply said that the list of election-watchlist areas (EWAs) were determined by the PNP based on some parameters.
Among the parameters enumerated by the PNP OIC are as follows: if an area should have a history of intense partisan political rivalry, if there have been incidents in the past that are politically-motivated and election-related, presence of threat groups or private army groups of influential politicians, and proliferation of firearms in a certain town, municipality or city.
Okubo said some 20 areas in Pangasinan are listed as hot spots but did not reveal which particular town/city are included. He reported that 21 high powered firearms were voluntarily surrendered in Rosales town.
Meanwhile, Board Member Alfonso Bince asked the new PNP OIC how he will guarantee a peaceful and safe election in the local level. The latter said, his principle goes with his mandate as a uniformed man. “The police is the community, and the community is the police,” he stressed.
In terms of vote-buying, Okubo said he intends to conduct a strategy called ‘one-time, big-time checkpoint’ to monitor occurrence of such incidence.
Expressing support to the new PNP caretaker, the provincial board headed by Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Z. Calimlim, Jr. welcomed Okubo as he said that the province will expect a lot from him especially because the national polls is just three months away. (Ruby R. Bernardino