May 9 polls to test Filipinos’ political will, unity: Danao

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said that Monday’s national and local elections will test the country’s political will and unity of the people.

“Indeed, this is another historical milestone that will test the mettle of government security forces in handling a national event of this scope and magnitude. But more importantly, this election will test our political will and unity as a sovereign people to guarantee the exercise of this democratic right that is free from fear, violence, fraud, disinformation and social dislocation,” he said.

Danao said they are hoping that the reassuring presence of the police, military and Coast Guard security personnel will further heighten the optimism and outlook of peaceful and orderly elections until the final process of proclamation.

“This should encourage our voters to freely exercise their right, more so in areas that are declared as election areas of concern. There should be no reason to be fearful of any outbreak of violence. The security category of areas is designed purposely as basis for deployment of security forces to preclude any window of opportunity for the perennial peace spoilers,” he noted.

Danao said security personnel will be stationed in the immediate vicinity of voting centers but will remain outside the polling precincts unless their presence is requested by the Electoral Board.

“In some areas where members of the Electoral Board may not be able to report for duty for one reason or another, the PNP has a pool of trained alternate members of the Electoral Board and Board of Election Inspectors who will take over. As of yesterday (May 8), there are five PNP personnel ordered by the Comelec (Commission on Elections) to perform duty as members of the Electoral Board in Barangay Talitay, Pikit, Cotabato,” he said.

As this developed, Philippine Army (PA) headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City bolstered its poll contingency (standby) force with the arrival of additional personnel and assets from other PA major units.

Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said this includes the Aviation Regiment’s two helicopters; Armor Division assets which include fire support vehicles, armored personnel carriers with remote control weapon system, and mounted mortar carriers; Army Support Command’s light tactical vehicles; and military trucks and ambulances are on standby in Fort Bonifacio to bolster the PA’s contingency force for the elections.

Additionally, the First Scout Ranger Regiment and the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) deployed platoons to bolster the headquarter’s contingency force. The Armor Division likewise sent a mechanized infantry company to the Army’s main headquarters.

The initial Headquarters PA contingency force is composed of Civil Disturbance Management (CDM), K-9, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Ambu-Medic, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams.

In response to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s directive on the 2022 National and Local Election, the PA has directed Infantry Divisions and the 1st Brigade Combat Team to organize company-sized contingency forces.

“Moreover, PA Functional Commands, Specialized Enabler Units and, Engineer Brigades deployed augmentation forces to address the additional troop requirements of AFP Unified Commands,” Trinidad said.

PA chief Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. earlier placed the PA under red alert status to ensure that all units are complete and ready to be deployed on orders to address possible threats that may arise during the election period.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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