BSKE MEASURES. Commission on Elections chairperson George Erwin Garcia (middle right) meets Philippine National Police chief, Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. (middle left) during the latter's courtesy call on Monday (June 5, 2023). Garcia said they have discussed measures for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in October. (Photo courtesy of Comelec)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will join the consultation in Negros Oriental amid calls to postpone the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in the province.

This came after PNP chief, Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., paid a courtesy call to Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia.

In a Viber message, Garcia said they are eyeing to conduct the consultation in the third week of June.

"Sabi ko po kay chief PNP samahan niya ako sa Negros (I told the chief PNP to join me in Negros [Oriental]) when we conduct the consultation there regarding postponement," Garcia told reporters.

"And he said yes immediately. I also intend to talk to the AFP chief if he can join us there."

The consultation is set to last for a month, with hearings to be conducted in all towns and villages.

Last week, the Comelec said it wanted to conduct hearings to ensure an orderly and peaceful BSKE in Negros Oriental, or at least identify whether to defer the polls or not.

Although the poll body has not yet received reports that the area is to be considered an election hotspot, there are calls to postpone the BSKE in Negros Oriental following the killing of Governor Roel Degamo.

However, under the law, polls in certain areas may only be deferred on the grounds of serious instances including violence, terrorism, insurrection, rebellion, lack of election facilities, or calamities.

Besides the consultation in the area, Garcia also discussed with Acorda close coordination measures for the upcoming BSK polls in October.

"We talked about the BSKE. The policies of the Commission for this election. The Carmona (Cavite) plebiscite. And of course, I congratulated him on his well-deserved appointment," he said.

The Comelec said it was 100 percent ready for the BSK polls, with only two things left to be accomplished including the deployment of election ballots and training of election board members. (PNA)