15,000-strong security forces to safeguard polls in W. Visayas

General

Over 15,000 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will secure Western Visayas (Region 6) during the May 9 national and local elections.

The PNP will deploy more than 12,000 uniformed personnel, about 3,000 from the military and 600 from the PCG following the simultaneous multi-agency send-off and turnover ceremonies held at the Police Region 6 headquarters at the Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City on Wednesday, said Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6) spokesperson Lt. Col. Arnel Solis.

“On the part of the PNP, we are 100 percent ready for the upcoming elections. Our augmentations have already reported to their respective assignments,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

The men and women from various police units have been reminded by PRO 6 director Brig. Gen. Flynn E. Dongbo to ensure that peace and order reign in their respective areas of responsibility, especially those considered areas of concern, and be professional during this election period, he added.

“The deployment for election areas of concern is normal, depending on the requirement of the place. We have quick response teams on standby that can be mobilized to augment the forces in areas where there is a demand for them,” Solis said.

As per the latest meeting of the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) chaired by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Solis said the areas of concern in the region remain at 44; four are classified as yellow, 35 as orange, and five as red.

Yellow means the area has a previous record of election-related incidents (ERI), orange for those with previous ERI and with threats from armed groups, and red for areas with a history of violence.

Police personnel will be deployed to secure voting centers, act as mobile security, and man the election monitoring action centers while others will be detailed at the provincial and city electoral boards.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Benedict M. Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army (PA), during Wednesday’s send-off, said that they have been successful in “deterring and countering the terroristic activities” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“We have been very relentless in our operations against what we feel and what we have seen as the biggest threat to our elections, the CPP-NPA, for the last few months. Officially, we are committing more or less 3,000 for the actual election duties but there are more on guard and on alert in different camps and detachments of the Philippine Army,” Arevalo said during the ceremony.

Lawyer Wilfred Jay E. Balisado, Comelec Regional Election Director for Western Visayas, during the send-off, said the region was able to maintain its peace and order, with no recorded election-related incident, due to close coordination and planning.

“We should always be proud that we are part of the May 9 elections because this is one for the books. And I do hope that this will be the last elections that we are in a pandemic because our preparation is difficult. For that alone you should be proud and you have that bragging rights to tell your children and your grandchildren that I was part of the May 9, 2022 elections and we were able to successfully conduct with pride,” Balisado added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

Source: Philippines News Agency

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