Despite security challenges, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said this year’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) turned out to be successful.
And despite hurdles, he added that the PNP and the other organizations involved in securing the BSKE ensured that the “integrity and fairness of the electoral process remain unscathed.”
“We have encountered challenges along the way but these did not affect the overall conduct of the electoral process. In the face of these hurdles, we have not faltered. We have risen to the occasion, determined to find swift and effective resolutions,” Acorda stressed.
He also clarified that the PNP’s responsibilities extend beyond the voting booths even if the BSKE voting process had successfully ended.
“Upon the culmination of this election exercise, we will still be providing comprehensive security coverage during the transport of election paraphernalia back to the Comelec [Commission on Elections]warehouse,” Acorda emphasized.
He added that the PNP would take every precaution to ensure the safe and efficient handling of these materials and equipment which he termed as the “vital components of democracy.”
“In conclusion, the 2023 BSKE exemplify our democracy’s resilience. The success of BSKE is a tribute to the unified strength of government agencies and the unwavering dedication of our citizens. We extend our profound thanks to all participants and the media for their invaluable coverage and vigilance in this democratic endeavor,” the PNP chief noted.
Earlier, Acorda said the number of election-related incidents (ERIs) for the BSKE has climbed to 35 as voters trooped to the polls.
And while there are no final figures yet available, the PNP chief said there is a possibility that the number of validated ERIs may be similar to the 2018 BSKE, which is 40, or may exceed a bit.
He added that the PNP was able to effectively respond to the majority of these incidents.
During Monday’s elections, the PNP reported 16 incidents—two mauling incidents in the Zamboanga Peninsula; two physical injury cases in Northern Mindanao; one case of malicious mischief in Cordillera; one case of harassment in Soccsksargen; one hacking and one illegal campaigning case in Calabarzon; one case of light threat in Bicol; one case of vote buying and vote selling in Metro Manila; and six shooting incidents in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The shooting incidents in the BARMM have so far killed five persons and wounded 11 others.