Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Government Forces Will Protect the Votes in Bicol Region

WE WILL PROTECT THE VOTES. Senior officers in Southern Luzon gathered in a coordinating conference aimed to protect the votes in the Bicol Region. Shown during the presscon with the local media are Southern Luzon Command Chief LTGeneral Roland Detabali (2nd from right), PCSUPT Salvador Manga (rightmost), PNP Deputy DIPO for Southern Luzon, and MGen Ruperto Pabustan, 9th Infantry Division Commander (3rd from right). (Photo by Pfc Marco Balinia/9th DPAO)

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – The Philippine Army and PNP personnel in the Bicol Region vowed to protect the votes during the joint AFP-PNP conference held in the 9th ID headquarters yesterday, May 3, 2010.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, Division Spokesperson said that the ranking commanders of 9ID’s 7 battalions and 3 brigades were all in attendance to give inputs about the updates on the Army’s internal security operations and the preparations for the upcoming elections.

“All of the unit commanders pledged to perform their assigned duties properly so that the Bicolanos can freely exercise their right to vote,” said Cabunoc.

Lieutenant General Roland Detabali, the Commander of the Southern Luzon Command, said that he will ensure that the soldiers remain neutral and avoid partisan politics.

“I want every soldier to do their tasks seriously as we prepare ourselves for this historic election,” he said.

The 9th ID has listed 15 towns and 55 baranggays in Camarines Sur under the Category 2 of the election watchlist of areas (EWAS). Certain places fall under this category when there are reported presence or past incidents of skirmishes with the communist rebels.

Some localities in the other 5 provinces of Bicol are also being watched by both the PNP and Army forces either due to the presence of communist rebels or the past history of election-related violent incidents, especially in Masbate province..

Since the deployment of the 903rd Infantry Brigade to Sorsogon and the 83rd Infantry Battalion to Catanduanes in 2009, the Philippine Army has maintained presence in all of Bicol’s 6 provinces.

“We have completed the realignment of our forces to address the security requirements. Our soldiers have constantly provided security patrols in areas which are threatened by the NPA rebels,” Major General Ruperto Pabustan, the 9ID commander said.

The attending senior police officers likewise committed to perform their assigned tasks in coordination with the military personnel.

Chief Superintendent Salvador Manga, representing the PNP-Southern Luzon, was confident that the soldiers and policemen can accomplish their delicate task of ensuring the conduct of honest and credible elections..

“With the efficient coordination with the COMELEC and the AFP, there is no doubt the PNP can perform its job properly. We will protect the votes as mandated,” he said.

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