Mid-term polls in Zamboanga peninsula generally peaceful—Licup

MAKING sure they have addressed all security threats in the region, Police Regional 9 director, Brigadier General Emmanuel Luis D. Licup yesterday said that the May 13 national and local elections in Zamboanga peninsula was generally peaceful and orderly with only a very few cases of malfunction Vote Counting Machines reported across Western Mindanao.

“After planning months before the election, we succeeded in keeping the polls as orderly and peaceful as possible with no reported failure of election at the 14,206 polling precincts in the region,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 told the Journal Group.

Major winners in the recent polls were reelectionist Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle ‘Beng’ Climaco Salazar who won her third term in city hall. Climaco of Liberal Party defeated PDP-Laban’s Celso Lobregat by nearly 34,000 votes.

In Zamboanga Norte, PDP-Laban’s Berto Uy was leading the gubernatorial race with 96.83 percent of election returns transmitted as of last Saturday afternoon. Uy was still ahead of Nationalista Party’s Bullet Jalosjos by some 4,000 votes on Saturday.

In Zamboanga del Sur, PDP-Laban’s Victor Yu was leading NP’s Aurora Cerillas by around 90,000 votes with nearly 92 percent of the election returns already transmitted last Saturday.

n Zamboanga Sibugay, PDP-Laban’s Wilter Palma has emerged as the new governor beating independent candidate George Hofer II by nearly 12,000 votes.

In Isabela City in Basilan, LP’s Sitti Djalia Hataman won the  mayoralty race by defeating PDP-Laban’s Cherrylyn Akbar by over 7,000 votes.

Amid threats posed by lawless elements in the region, Licup said they made sure all security measures are in place months ahead of the elections to prevent the movement of any groups that may try to disrupt the polls including in Zamboanga City which was the scene of an infamous siege launched by members of the Moro National Liberation Front on September 9, 2013 triggering gun battles with soldiers and policemen which killed a number of civilians and the gunmen and the displacement of more than 100,000 people.

“The peace and order situation in the region is manageable as we have already set up all our security measures since the start of the election period last January 13,” Licup said.

The PRO9 director credited the generally peaceful elections to the combined effort of the regional police force, their counterparts from the Armed Forces and other government and law enforcement agencies as well as the general public.

“Contingency planning and the establishment of Joint Security Control Center in the provinces and cities in the region likewise contributed to the success of the electoral exercises,” he said.

Licup said a total of 2,040 local candidates vied for different elective positions in the region. “However, although the highly-contested electoral exercises across the region turned out to be peaceful,” he said as he commended all candidates for fully cooperating with their security measures.

The PRO9 director said that on Election Day, the Regional Election Monitoring Action Center recorded only one incident of vote-buying and vote-selling in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur which led in the arrest of six persons and the confiscation of P8,490 in cash.

The official said 10 persons were arrested for violating the liquor ban in the region. He added that since they strictly enforced the gun ban in the region up to yesterday, they have already arrested a total of 130 gun ban violators and confiscated 132 assorted firearms and 1,321 other deadly weapons.