By Alexis Romero
MANILA, Philippines – The military has deployed 100 additional soldiers to Biliran to secure the elections in the province, which is believed to be facing threats from private armed groups.
Soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion based in Kananga, Leyte were tasked to support the police personnel in law enforcement operations.
The soldiers were sent off in a ceremony held at the Philippine Ports Authority in Naval, Biliran Thursday morning.
The activity is in line with the Secure and Fare Elections (SAFE) 2013 program of the security forces and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Lt. Col. Joel Nacnac, commander of the Army’s 19th battalion, said the deployment was a “proactive” measure against any unforeseen event.
“[The deployment] may look awkward to the public, considering that the province of Biliran had been declared as insurgency-free on 2006,” Nanac said.
“But the beefing up of the current number of security forces in the area is only to ensure unhampered conduct of election and that the public is never deprived of their right to suffrage,” he added.
Col. Rafael Valencia, chief of the Army’s 802nd brigade, reminded the soldiers to remain apolitical during the elections.
Under the Constitution, soldiers are barred from engaging in partisan politics.
The soldiers and the policemen are now conducting checkpoints in areas considered as election hot spots to thwart any poll-related violence. They will also secure polling places until the counting machines are turned over to the Comelec. – Bjorn Beltran
This is a welcome news and a step in the right direction.
The ultimate responsibility of insuring that the elections are clean, fair and accurate remains with all Biliranons.
Everyone must be vigilant and insure that their votes are counted and their voices represented through the candidates they voted for.
It is one day of sacrifice to insure that the ballot boxes, the PCOS machines and transmitting equipment are guarded from the time it is delivered to the allocated precincts up the time when it is returned to Comelec depots.
Watchers must exercise utmost care and vigilance to insure the PCOS machines registers 0 count, shows correct time and day when switched on at the start of voting, and off when transmission of results have been finalised.
Municipal and Provincial watchers on the canvass need to be alert and monitor the start of receipt of transmissions up to final tally. Again, keeping a tag on the machine log printouts.
No more complacency as what to happened in 2010. It is better to sacrifice 1 to 2 days of utmost vigilance than years of frustration on electoral appeals.
Each and every Biliranon has a vote and must be counted. This remains the responsibility of each and everyone of us.
VOTE WITH YOUR CONSCIENCE!
GOD BLESS BILIRAN