The Philippine National Police has ordered the recall of its security personnel assigned to public officials effective tomorrow and will begin enforcing a comprehensive gun ban as the four-month election period kicks off.
The election period that begins tomorrow will end on June 12, while election day is on May 13.
Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said all PNP security personnel will be recalled Sunday.
However, Provincial Elections Supervisor Jessie Suarez said candidates will be allowed security personnel or bodyguards if authorized in writing by the COMELEC.
Suarez met with the election officers of the towns and cities of Negros Occidental to remind them to enforce COMELEC prohibitions during the election period.
During the election period, private citizens and security personnel in civilian clothes are prohibited from carrying firearms outside their homes.
The transfer and movement of officers and employees in the civil service is also prohibited, Suarez also pointed out.
Suspension of elective local officials is banned during the election period, he added.
Suarez called on local government officials to submit the lists of their ongoing projects with supporting documents, pointing out that the ban on public works starts March 29 and will last until May 13.
The appointing or hiring of new employees, creation or filing up of new positions, promotion or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privilege, will also be barred during that period, he said.
The campaign period for national candidates starts February 12, and for local candidates on March 29.
Suarez said that, aside from barangays Banago and Mansilingan in Bacolod City being removed from the COMELEC hotspots list, Calatrava and Pulupandan towns have also been removed from the Category 2 list of areas with history of election-related violence.
Only Escalante City in Negros Occidental remains in the Category 2 list, he said.
Some barangays in Negros Occidental still remain in the Category 1 list for the presence of insurgents, Suarez added.
The list of Category 1 barangays will be reviewed at a regional command conference to be attended by COMELEC, police and Army officials in Iloilo City on Tuesday, Suarez said.*CPG