PNP updates watchlist for 2016 polls

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) added Abra, Nueva Ecija, and Lanao Del Norte to its election watchlist areas.

These three provinces are on top of the initial watchlist which includes Pangasinan, Masbate, Negros Oriental, Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Western Samar.

According to PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez, more police personnel and senior officers will be deployed in these areas due to the intense political rivalry and successive crime incidents that have been occurring here.

Related: Three cases of election-related violence recorded on second day of campaign period

Meanwhile, Marquez is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to release the remaining budget for police on poll duty.

The PNP requested a budget of about P800 million since it began setting up checkpoints on January 10, when the election period began.

However, they only received P462 million last week.

Despite constraints, Marquez said the PNP is on top of the safety operations on May 9. As early as now, police are positioned in areas of concern ahead of the elections.

“The PNP is on its full thrust to ensure that the Filipino people will have a safe and fair election this coming May,” said Marquez. “To date, the election situation has remained relatively peaceful.”

Related: Close to 1,600 violators arrested since start of election gun ban — PNP

So far, the PNP has recorded 63 election-related incidents nationwide from January 10 to March 31. Police are strictly implementing the Comelec’s gun ban. To date, 2,779 violators have been detained and 2,121 firearms have been seized.

The PNP is also monitoring seven additional private armed groups from northern Luzon, which brings the total number of monitored private armed groups to 85. Most of these are based in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and in central Mindanao.

Marquez said their records show they can surpass the PNP’s performance in the 2010 and 2013 elections.