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Bacolod: Army, PNP on heightened alert until Nov. 4

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Bacolod City – All the security forces in Negros Occidental are now in full alert status, as Army soldiers and policemen have already been dispatched to the respective areas they are assigned to secure, in line with the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections today, October 30.

PCol. Leo Pamittan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said that they have 2,170 police officers available to secure the BSKE in the province.

Given the security preparations of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, Pamittan said “I am confident that we are good to go, and all set for the elections.”

Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, who attended the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting yesterday at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City with Pamittan, said they have 2,119 available troops, including CAFGU Active Auxiliaries, to secure the elections in the province.

Both the Philippine Army and PNP have also organized their respective Quick Reaction Forces, for response to any security emergencies that may arise during Monday’s polls.

Edralin said they have been on full alert from Thursday, until Nov. 4, in line with the elections, adding that he canceled all vacation leaves of soldiers.

Pamittan expressed concerns on the possibility that lawless elements may take advantage of the situation, as he called on police officers, who may be targeted for violent activities, to be vigilant all the time.

Edralin reminded Army soldiers to do their best effort in making BSKE 2023 peaceful and orderly, with zero incidents.

Any failure is not within our option, Edralin said.

Pamittan also said that the death of a ranking New People’s Army leader, as a result of a recent encounter with Army soldiers in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, whose father is running for barangay kagawad in the village, has nothing to with the election.

Meanwhile, The Philippine Army reiterated its warning to candidates against paying “permit to win fees” to the New People’s Army, as the campaign period for the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections ended last Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, disclosed that candidates proven to have paid “permit to campaign fees” will be held accountable, not only for violation of Commission on Elections rules and regulations, but also under the Anti-Terrorism law.

While they have not yet received any complaints of NPA extortion activities from candidates, Edralin said they are expecting such rebel activities, as they have done so, in order to generate income, in past elections.

As they are losing their mass base support, he said the only way for the NPA to generate income is to engage in extortion activities.

Section 4 of the Republic Act (RA) No. 10168 otherwise known as “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012,” states: “Any person who, directly or indirectly, willfully and without lawful excuse, possesses, provides, collects or uses property or funds or makes available property, funds or financial service or other related services, by any means, with the unlawful and willful intention that they should be used or with the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part: (a) to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act; (b) by a terrorist organization, association or group; or (c) by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing of terrorism.”

Those found guilty of committing the said provision of RA 10168 shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, and a fine of not less than P500,000 nor more than P1 million. (Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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