Maguindanao plebiscite ‘generally peceful’

Maguindanao plebiscite ‘generally peceful’

By Arwen Pascua

MANILA — Philippine National Police Chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on Sunday noted the generally peaceful and orderly plebiscite in Maguindanao Province.

Held Saturday, the said poll exercise sought to ratify a measure that will divide the province’s 36 municipalities under two separate provincial jurisdictions.

Reports have it that the “Yes” vote prevailed in the said plebiscite, which according to the Commission on Elections also saw a record turnout of around 85 percent from the number of voters.

Azurin was updated on developments in Maguindanao by Police Brigadier General John Guyguyon through the PNP Command Center since 1:30 AM Saturday when PNP security forces in Maguindanao led by Police Colonel Roel Sermese, PNP Provincial Director, began deployment for election duties alongside a detailed security contingent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and an augmentation force of 100 police personnel from nearby Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office.

Citing field reports from PRO-BARMM, the Chief PNP noted that election paraphernalia was received as scheduled, polling precincts opened on time, and no reported plebiscite-related incidents.

He also noted that security processes and protocols were well-organized, and anti-Covid protocols and efforts are also enforced and observed.

A total of 2,377 PNP personnel were deployed for election duties in today’s plebiscite, with 1,116 deployed in 461 polling centers where 814,790 registered voters were expected to cast their votes.

Police personnel was also detailed to provide security to convoys transporting election materials, security at the provincial capitol, municipal hubs, provincial treasurer’s office, and 20 mobile checkpoints around the province.

Some 600 other police personnel were also assigned for civil disturbance management, quick response team, reactionary standby support force, investigation covert security, and implementation of minimum public health standards.

As of 4:30 PM, the Police Regional Office in BARMM reported that voting has been concluded in 28 out of the 36 municipalities with an estimated 80% voter turnout.

“I feel happy for the people of Maguindanao for this historic moment that they are afforded this opportunity to decide for themselves the future of their province. I trust that whatever the outcome of this plebiscite truly represents the will of the Maguindanao electorate that government security forces ensured they will be able to exercise today,” the Chief PNP said.

“Maguindanao was the first assignment where I served as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1989. I hope this will be another step closer to our aspirations for durable and lasting peace in that part of the country,” he added.

“Mag tulong-tulong tayo upang makamit natin ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran sa lahat ng panig ng bansa sa ilalim ng KASIMBAYANAN o pinagsamang lakas ng Kapulisan, Simbahan at Pamayanan, he said. (ai/mtvn)

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