Dismantle private armed groups, Army units told

Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. has directed all military units to dismantle private armed groups as part of efforts to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the May 9 polls.

Brawner issued this order in the first Army-wide command conference this year at the PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday.

“In order for us to achieve peaceful and orderly elections, let us look into dismantling private armed groups. Let me remind you of our two solemn duties in the coming elections: vote and ensure peaceful and orderly elections. We will not tolerate partisan politics and military adventurism,” he said.

In his visit to the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division last week, Brawner tasked troops to dismantle private armed groups and other peace spoilers that pose a security threat to the elections.

He also told politicians to avoid paying the “permit to campaign” to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army during the campaign period.

“We will closely partner with the Commission on Elections and other concerned agencies to provide an atmosphere of safety and security so that the people can vote freely, thus upholding the sanctity of the ballot,” Brawner said.

He likewise reminded soldiers to stay non-partisan in the coming elections.

“All soldiers are directed to maintain a non-partisan stance on issues that are politically controversial, and leaning to electoral candidates and political parties engaged in the elections,” he said.

Brawner also called on troops to be mindful of the proper conduct of PA personnel on social media. He told them to avoid posting, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts that are politically motivated, controversial, and fraudulent.

Moreover, Brawner called on troops to comply with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban rules during the election period from January 9 to June 8.

The poll body, in Resolution 10728, allows soldiers to carry and possess firearms while performing official duties during the 150-day election period.

“Practice your right of suffrage and make sure that the coming elections will be peaceful and orderly. Troops who will perform poll duties are highly encouraged to avail of local absentee voting,” Brawner said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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