By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has placed the entire municipality of Tubaran in Lanao del Sur on full alert status as part of the security measures for the conduct of Special Elections in 12 of its barangays today, May 24.
PMGen Valeriano T. De Leon, Director for Operations and Deputy Commander, STF National and Local Elections 2022 mentioned that the action is aimed at preventing any armed groups or individuals from attempting to sabotage or influence the results of the special election for the more than 8,000 voters who were disenfranchised on May 9 for security reasons.
According to our monitoring, there have been sightings of armed men in some areas, and my directive to our personnel on the ground is to ensure that these armed men are not given a single opportunity to carry out their nefarious plans, “said De Leon, who is currently in Tubaran town supervising the security for the special elections.
“We have sufficient troops here in Tubaran, which were bolstered by our counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he emphasized.
The armed men are believed to be supporters of mayoral candidates, and De Leon stated that they are monitoring these groups, especially after an explosion a few days before the special elections.
At least 600 police officers and 400 soldiers were dispatched to Tubaran, according to PNP OIC, PLTGEN VICENTE DANAO JR.
De Leon stated that all the cops and soldiers were stationed in strategic locations to prevent armed groups from entering designated voting precincts. At least 52 police officers in these voting precincts are serving as Board of Election Inspectors.
On Monday, May 23, De Leon met with LTGEN ALFREDO ROSARIO, the Commanding General, AFP’s Western Mindanao Command; MGEN GENEROSO PONIO, Commander, 1st Infantry Division; and PLTGEN JOSE CHIQUITO MALAYO. Commander, Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, to discuss security and deployment.
As of 4 p.m. on May 23, 718 PNP members had been sent to the area. This included 171 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF), 96 members of the Civil Disturbance and Management from Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Mobile Forces, 252 members of the PRO-BAR Regional Mobile Forces Battalion, and the rest from local police forces.
De Leon stated that the Bureau of Fire Protection, with their firetrucks and personnel, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), with their transport vehicles, were tapped to bolster the deployment in Tubaran town.
De Leon stated, “Our security coverage here, in collaboration with the AFP, the BFP, the BJMP, and the COMELEC, is thorough and extensive, so we are confident in the peaceful and credible conduct of the special election today.” (ai/mtvn)