Armed Forces Central Command chief Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano yesterday said that the implementation of the Comelec gun ban in 2010 and previous elections had contributed a lot in making elections peaceful and orderly and addressed the use of force and of private armed groups.
Once you control the proliferation of loose firearms, then there will be no people to coerce others, he added.
Alano admitted that the New People’s Army remains a threat to the 2013 elections, and encouraged those who receive extortion demands to immediately coordinate with the nearest military or police units.
He said it is normal for any armed group to coerce or threaten people. “What is important is that they should inform us, so we can help them to ensure these things do not happen”, he added.
In previous elections, the NPA would require candidates to pay for a “permit to campaign” before allowing them to enter their so-called controlled territories.
Alano said requiring candidates to pay campaign fees is a “clear violation of human rights.”
Of the 315 barangays in Western Visayas tagged as probable election hotspots, 126 are in Negros Occidental, and are now being validated by the PNP.*GPB