AFP to take ‘extra precautionary measures’ for BOL polls

MANILA Following the deadly blast in Jolo, Sulu that left 20 persons dead and 111 individuals wounded Sunday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would take "extra precautionary measures" to secure the second Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite on February 6.

"We will take extra precautionary measures in the advent of the Jolo incident. Meanwhile, our troops are advised to be always on the alert for any changes in the security protocols to anticipate the fluid situation. All other security arrangements stay the same," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato on Monday said in a text message.

On Sunday morning, two blasts rocked the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu in the middle of a mass.

On Feb. 6, the second plebiscite would be held in the province of Lanao del Norte, except Iligan City; the municipalities of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pikit, and Pigkawayan in the province of North Cotabato; and the 28 barangays to be included in the region.

"Since it will be relatively smaller, the concentration of troops will be higher. AFP troops are predeployed so there will be minimal movement to secure the plebiscite on February 6," Detoyato said.

The military has allocated some 10,000 troops and support units to help secure the plebiscite, along with the Philippine National Police.

Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the government is still trying to determine if the explosions in Jolo, Sulu were related to the recently ratified BOL.

During the January 21 plebiscite, majority of the people in Muslim Mindanao voted in favor of the law that will create a new Bangsamoro region with greater autonomy, but Jolo and the entire province of Sulu voted against the proposed measure. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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