TACLOBAN CITY – At least 63 persons in Eastern Visayas were arrested from Sunday until early Monday for allegedly violating the liquor ban as the Philippine National Police heightened security measures to ensure the safe conduct of Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
The police regional office reported that 58 of these individuals were arrested in two drinking sprees in Ormoc City on Sunday; one was arrested also on Sunday in Paranas, Samar; and four were held in Naval, Biliran early Monday.
Police arrested the violators in Ormoc City inside the Pier Capitan Resto Bar and Grill at the city’s district 12 around 12:01 a.m. on Sunday. Of the 58, arrested, 50 are from Ormoc City. The rest are from the nearby towns of Merida, Albuera, Baybay City, Leyte, Kananga, Capoocan, and Cebu City.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is imposing a nationwide liquor ban from October 29 to 30 under Resolution 10924, which means that purchasing and drinking alcohol is prohibited.
“The primary objective of the liquor ban during elections is to maintain the integrity of the electoral process. By preventing incidents of violence, vote-buying, and undue influence related to alcohol consumption, the government aims to create a peaceful and fair environment for voters to express their choices,” said PNP Eastern Visayas acting regional director Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Pawid.
Only foreign tourists in hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other similar establishments certified by the Department of Tourism as "tourist-oriented" are exempted from the ban.
Violators will be punished with a jail time of one to six years without probation, along with a permanent ban from public office.
Meanwhile, the Comelec said the opening of 3,813 voting centers in Eastern Visayas is generally peaceful.
In a few areas, the Comelec observed a delay in the updating of status election paraphernalia delivery due to poor signal.
Earlier, the regional police office deployed more police officers to 491 villages identified as election areas of concern two days before the BSKE.
Of the more than 7,000 police officers deployed across the region for election-related duties, at least 2,400 were assigned to the first congressional district of Samar and 2,300 to the third district of Leyte. (PNA)