AFP assigns troops to secure Cebu polls

05/06/10 - CEBU – The Central Command (CentCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed 163 soldiers around the province as augmentation force of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) that will be guarding the May 10 National Elections.

The 163 soldiers were formally welcomed at the CPPO headquarters Thursday as they await their assignments during the election. The soldiers will beef up the force of the provincial police in keeping a close eye at the different towns and component cities around Cebu.

CPPO Director Erson Digal said the deployment of the soldiers will greatly help in ensuring peaceful and orderly elections in Cebu province. He said the troops will be immediately deployed to various assignments.

Digal had earlier asked CentCom to beef up its personnel and assign troops to mountain barangays to ensure peaceful and orderly elections in the province, including said far-flung areas on May 10.

He said the augmentation force from CentCom will be assigned in mountain barangays, especially in the mid-north area, which had been infiltrated by rebels and leftist groups, and in other mountain barangays around the province.

Although Cebu has already been declared insurgency-free, Digal said it would still be best to assign troops in those mountain barangays to discourage people from sowing violence come election day.

Digal said security plans have already been mapped out for the elections and there is still a shortage in the number of policemen for assignment on May 10. He said at least two policemen will be assigned to each polling places around the province to ensure that the electoral process goes smoothly.

“I have been praying that my area of responsibility will be peaceful during the elections. And we need the help of the AFP and the public in ensuring that peace and order will be achieved on May 10,” said Digal.

He said, however, that his intelligence team has not received any reports of groups or politicians planning to inflict physical violence. He said political fights in the province are only through the media as opposing candidates hurl accusations against each other to gain media mileage.
The CPPO has also been conducting several checkpoints around the province in coordination with the Commission on Election (COMELEC). He said Cebu province now has the highest number of gunban arrests in Central Visayas. (Manila Bulletin)

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