ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The provincial police force sees a peaceful holding of elections in Basilan in 2013.
Chief Superintendent Mario Yanga, commander of the newly formed Regional Special Operation Task Group (RSOTG) for election, said the settlement of several political rivalries in the province will pave the anticipated peaceful elections in the province.
Yanga, currently the deputy for administration of Police Regional Office (PRO) 9, said the reason why Basilan was listed as among the 15 election hot spots election was due to high incidence of violence due to the rivalry of political clans.
He said the PNP national headquarters immediately implemented mitigating measures two months ago to avert the politcal tension in the province through amicable settlement of feuding clans and the filing of proper charges in court.
Yanga said the recent peace agreement entered into by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) regional Governor Mujiv Hataman and Basilan province Gov. Jum Akbar and the alignment of their political parties into one has eased the political tension in Basilan.
The Hatamans and Akbars signed a peace covenant last October and aligned all incumbent mayors and councilors to run under the administration’s Liberal Party (LP).
The years of bitter rivalry between the Hataman and Akbar clans intensified following the death of former Congressman Wahab Akbar in the deadly 2007 Batasan bombing.
The court, however, cleared Hataman and dropped the case prompting the acting regional governor to initiate a dialogue that led to the two feuding clans' settlement.
“Elections in Basilan will not be as tense compared before,” Yanga said.
Basilan, along with the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, is listed in the top 15 priority areas for the 2013 elections.
Yanga said that the police is working doubly hard for a peaceful election in the province as "it is the desire of the president."
Aside from the feud between the Hatamans and the Akbars, local police and military forces have also settled nine political family feuds in the province.