| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Philippine police say country ‘relatively peaceful’ ahead of election

Despite some shooting incidents and other poll-related offenses that they consider to be isolated, Philippine police said on Sunday the country’s overall situation ahead of the May 9 general election remained “relatively peaceful.”
Filipinos will vote on Monday to choose President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor, a vice president, 12 senators, hundreds of congressmen, and thousands of governors, mayors and provincial and city councillors.
The presidential election is shaping up as a rematch between Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the country’s late dictator, and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, the human rights lawyer who narrowly beat him in the 2016 vice presidential contest.
Three months of divisive campaigning ended on Saturday, with Marcos and Robredo making last-ditch bids to sway undecided voters with patriotic, upbeat messages.
“One day before the conduct of the actual election, we are considering our preparation and the situation as relatively peaceful,” Philippine National Police Spokesperson Jean Fajardo said in a media briefing.
The police have recorded 16 election-related offenses since the campaign season began, including two cases of shooting incidents between supporters of rival local candidates in Nueva Ecija and Ilocos Sur provinces, she said.
“These are good indicators, these are good numbers,” Fajardo said, comparing the police data with the 133 recorded cases during the 2016 general election and the 60 recorded cases during the 2019 mid-term polls.
The police have also recorded more than 3,000 arrests related to the election ban on the carrying of firearms, also substantially lower because of what Fajardo described as an intensive campaign to confiscate loose firearms that could be used by private armed groups.
Saturday’s final campaign push ended without Duterte endorsing any presidential candidate, but his political party is backing Marcos and Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is Marcos’s running mate.
Both remained comfortably ahead of their rivals, based on opinion polls.

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