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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on ordered the Philippine National Police to beef up security in all canvassing areas and continue to exercise maximum tolerance on poll protest rallies, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

The order was issued amid reports of protesters demanding an explanation of election glitches during the election day while others are calling for protest actions via the social media as some netizens claim electoral fraud.

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Año said he recognizes that "people have freedom to express their sentiments and reactions but they must be done within the bounds of law and order.’’

“My order to the PNP is to ensure public order at all times and to exercise maximum tolerance in handling rallies and demonstrations. People have freedom to express their sentiments and reactions but they must be done within the bounds of law and order,” Año said in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) when sought for a comment.

In dealing with their grievances, the DILG chief urged the demonstrators to file their protests and complaints to the proper authorities "particularly to the Comelec (Commission on Elections)."

“We urge the people to file their protest and complaint to proper authorities particularly to the Comelec. The election last May 9 was peaceful and orderly; and let’s wait for the official proclamation of the winners. After that, we have to respect the voices of the majority and let us work together for the good of our country and people,” he said.

PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, for his part, has called for sobriety amid planned rallies to protest the outcome of the May 9 elections.

Danao reiterated that the PNP will continue to exercise maximum tolerance.

He said the PNP will respect the right of the people to air their grievances for as long as it would not resort to violence and destruction of properties.

Meanwhile, Año reminds all local government units (LGUs) and candidates to remove and dispose all campaign waste materials within three days.

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“Cleanup of election litter is the first order of business after the polls. Aside from incumbent LGU officials, we urge all candidates, winners and non-winners alike, to take it upon themselves to lead in the removal of their campaign materials,” Año said in a separate statement on Wednesday.

In an advisory to local chief executives (LCEs), he urged the proper disposal of election propaganda materials in line with environmental laws and local ordinances and regulations against illegal dumping, open burning, and littering.

He also urged the utilization of barangay and LGU material recovery facilities to collect reusable materials as well as in coming up with innovative and safe strategies to recycle or upcycle reusable campaign waste materials.

“Impose the responsibility to the organizers of political activities, to ensure that waste generated by their activities and their attendees will be properly managed and disposed of,” he said in the advisory to LCEs.

Hinihimok din po natin ang ating mga kababayan na makiisa sa cleanup drive ng kanilang LGUs at barangay (We also urge the public to join the cleanup drive of their LGUs and barangays). We have done our part in exercising our right to vote. Let’s continue to participate in governance through our simple ways of cleaning up our neighborhood from election litter,” he said.

Año pointed out that campaign propaganda made of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials if not properly disposed of may have detrimental effects on public health and the environment.

In the 2019 midterm elections, Año said more than 168.84 tons of campaign materials were collected.


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