Bacolod City – The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) is on red alert status for the local and national elections.
Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, brigade commander, said that at least 2,000 personnel, including members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) have been deployed in Negros Occidental to secure the elections, and the counting of votes.
However, Pasaporte said the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) under the brigade, which covers portion of Negros Oriental, has been temporarily placed under the supervision of the 302nd IBde to secure the elections in the oriental side.
Pasaporte said that some of the military troopers were already deployed as early as May 1 to assist the police and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the transport of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs), ballots, and other election paraphernalia.
Pasaporte said that soldiers will also be assigned to critical areas and other key locations to ensure peace and order, while the Cafgu will be part of the augmentation forces.
Assessment and monitoring is ongoing, especially in areas identified as election hotspots, he added.
Meanwhile, the Joint Provincial Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) composed of the Provincial Comelec office, 303rd IBde, Philippine National Police, and Philippine Coast Guard activated the Provincial Election Monitoring Action Center (PEMAC) based in Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) headquarters here over the weekend.
The objective of the PEMAC is to serve as the central monitoring unit wherein information relative to the conduct of the elections, including security coverage in the province, will be addressed.
The PEMAC will also serve as validation and counter validation of information relative to the local elections in which reports are directly addressed to concerned deputized agencies for proper response.
“The successful conduct of the election does not rely on the Comelec, military, and the police alone, but with the full participation of the Negrosanons in safeguarding the sanctity of the ballots, Pasaporte said.
On the other hand, Pasaporte reiterated his reminder to all candidates to refrain from extending campaign fees to New People’s Army (NPA), as they could be liable for an election offense.
Pasaporte warned candidates that it may be a ground for disqualification.
“A full force of action will be undertaken against these candidates bisan nakapungko ka pa sa puwesto. We will file a legal case for supporting a terrorist organization,” he said. (Glazyl Masculino via The Daily Guardian (TDG), photo courtesy of TDG)