BAGUIO CITY — The Police Regional Office in Cordillera (PROCOR) is on the lookout for a possible resurgence of private armed groups (PAGS) in the region, especially in Abra, as the May 2019 elections draw near.
“Meron tayong mino-monitor na potential PAGS at ito ay subject to monitoring and validation (We are monitoring potential PAGS and this are still subject to validation),” PROCOR director Chief Supt. Rolando Nana told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.
During the Joint Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Meeting on Dec. 19, PROCOR operations division chief, Supt. Homer Penecilla, reported that among the schemes of the regional police now is the dismantling of PAGS and alleged PAGS and the campaign against loose firearms.
Nana said law enforcers have monitored potential PAGS, but not as many as before.
“Konti lang. Mga dati ng mga group pero mino-monitor lang namin, under monitor lang sila lalo at election na (There are just a few now, some are former groups and we are just monitoring them, especially that election is near),” the police general said.
Both the police and the military have regularly been on the lookout for possible election-related crimes in Abra, as the landlocked province has had history of political and election-related killings.
“Dati naman nang nade-declare na isang area of concern ang Abra dahil nga sa mga past elections (Abra has always been declared an area of concern because of past elections),” Nana said.
He noted though that recorded election-related incidents in Abra are on the down trend, from the past elections in 2010, 2013, and 2016. The latest election had only two recorded, much lower than the 33 or 34 incidents in the past.
“Kokonti na lang election related (there are just a few election-related),” he pointed out.
Aside from monitoring potential PAGs, PROCOR is also intensifying the campaign against loose firearms.
The regional police reported that for the period October-November this year, it conducted 117 operations, which led to the confiscation of 121 unlicensed firearms, arrest of 45 violators, and filing of 35 cases.
Nana said PROCOR is now arranging covenant signing activities in the whole region, not just in Abra, for holding before the start of the campaign period for local candidates.
“Hopefully, in the coming days, we will be having covenant signing, which will be done in partnership with the stakeholders like Comelec, religious sector, AFP, and the candidates, who will converge to manifest support to a safe, peaceful, and orderly election,” Nana said.
He added that PROCOR hopes that crime incidents involving political personalities in adjacent provinces in Region 1 do not happen in Cordillera.
“Yung mga nangyayari sa La Union, Pangasinan area, kung saan yung mga elected officials at candidates ay napapaslang, sana naman ay hindi ito mangyari dito sa Cordillera (We are hoping that the incidents of killing in La Union and Pangasinan, where elected officials and candidates are being killed will not happen here in Cordillera),” Nana said./Liza Agoot (PNA)