TACLOBAN CITY, Jan. 12 (PNA) –- Law enforcement agencies in Eastern Visayas will come up with consolidated security plans to step up preparations for the upcoming May 9 elections.

Lawyer Jose Nick Mendros, Comelec regional director said the plan will be finalized before the campaign period of candidates for national positions on Feb. 9.

“The possible scenario is that the election will be peaceful and we are working hard to achieve that, but we are planning for the worst,” Mendros said.

The Comelec will deputize the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections this year.

The joint security plan, which is based on possible scenarios, will be the basis for the deployment of the army and police to secure the board of election inspectors and voting centers.

Col. Cesar Idio, Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division assistant commander said the military has already drafted their own security plan, but it has to be consolidated with the police.

“Our plan makes sure that the elections will be peaceful, free from violence, and that the people are secured in exercising their rights without intimidation, force, pressure or any violent act, which violate their free will,” Idio said.

Police Regional Director Jose Erwin Villacorte has directed all personnel last week to come up with provincial security plans in consultation with local election officers.

“Setting up checkpoints is just one of the strategies. We need to coordinate our efforts to accomplish other tasks such as dismantling private armies and lawless elements,” Villacorte said.

The Comelec, PNP and the Army recently activated the joint security control centers (JSCC) in the regional, provincial and city levels.

The JSCC, chaired by Comelec, craft and implement a strategy to address all election-related security issues and concerns peculiar to an area.

The joint group is primarily tasked to formulate and implement a plan for “intensified law enforcement and security operations to thwart nefarious activities of criminals targeting loose firearms with threat groups and neutralize private armed groups within respective jurisdiction.”

They are also mandated to accept and process all applications for security detail by candidates for the House of Representatives and local candidates and provide temporary security detail to the concerned applicants for a maximum period of 30 days. (PNA)