CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) met with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to discuss security preparations for the coming National and Local Elections on Friday, April 8.
AFP Chief of Staff General Andres C Centino, PNP Chief Police General Dionardo B Carlos, PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio M Abu, and COMELEC Chairman Saidamen Balt Pangarungan attended the third Joint Command Conference at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo.
The joint command conference served as a venue to discuss updates on the deployment of vote counting machines, official ballots, and other election equipment, supplies, and paraphernalia by COMELEC.
“With the campaign period for both national and local posts in full swing, now more than ever, we in the AFP implore troops deployed all over the country to remain vigilant against entities that may threaten or prevent our citizens from safely exercising their constitutional right to vote the next leaders of our nation, including our local government executives,” said General Centino.
Security updates were presented by the AFP and PNP as attendees were also apprised by the energy sector, electoral boards, and the Inter-Agency Task Forces for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Disease.
Also in attendance were duly-authorized representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Energy and Department of Education. The Joint Cells of the JPSCC also attended the event while AFP Unified Commanders participated through video teleconference.
During the command conference, the AFP, PNP and PCG signed the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) Letter Directive Nr 02-2022 on Operational Guidelines for the National and Local Elections 2022.
The directive provides the policies and guidelines of the member agencies, as deputized by the COMELEC to conduct peace and security operations ensuring safe, accurate, free, and fair elections.
The PNP will be responsible to take the lead role in law enforcement operations, including investigation and assist the COMELEC in the prosecution of election related cases. The PCG on the other hand will take the lead in law enforcement operations in coastal or maritime areas.
In the conduct of joint operations involving suppression of insurgency and other serious threats to national security, the AFP will be at the helm with PNP and PCG in the support role.
Pursuant to provisions of COMELEC Resolutions No. 10755 and No. 10743, the AFP, PNP, and PCG shall provide security to polling places, including election materials that will be used in connection with the elections.
They will also provide security to COMELEC personnel, its deputies and other persons performing election-related functions as well as make available land, air and watercraft assets, communication systems and other equipment to assist the commission.
Government forces will also look into the existence of and prevent any armed group organized to commit acts of terrorism and threats to intimidate or coerce any person to vote for or against a candidate.