GOVERNMENT security forces operating in Misamis Oriental have assured that the conduct of the May 13 elections in the province, including in rebel-infested areas is safe and peaceful, while admitting the presence of communist rebels, the New People’s Army (NPA), to be the only “terror threat” so far in the province.
This was how Lieutenant Colonel Roy Anthony Derilo, commander of the 58th Infantry Battalion (58IB), said soldiers were already deployed in areas where the communist insurgents have organized mass base.
But for the NPA, it is not their organization but the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in general that “bombards civilians while paying lip service to human rights.”
The NPA was tagged by the Philippine government as a terrorist organization, following the declarations made by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Derilo said troops from the 58IB have continued their community support program in remote communities that have been radicalized by the NPA organization.
He said the military is doing its best efforts to support the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the police so that the conduct of elections in the province will remain secure, unhampered and unthreatened.
“Naka-deploy nami og troops ani nga mga (we already deployed troops in these) areas much earlier para tabang sa ila (so to help them). Kung mag-attempt magsamok ang NPA they would go to conflict-affected areas didto sila mag jump base busa giunhan na nato sila didto (if the NPA will attempt to cause trouble in conflict-sensitive areas, they will come from their jumping point so we already preempted it),” he said.
Provincial police director Colonel Rolando Destura also assured that the more than 3,000 teachers who will serve in the election will be protected from any threat and harassment.
Other than its police personnel visibility in all polling centers, another 450 policemen have been on standby to respond to any untoward incidents. He also said that there will be also presence of police and military forces in the coastal barangays in the province.
Although not directly a response to 58IB, the NPA made a statement that it follows a “pro-people” stance through a statement that was meant as a response to allegations about a child casualty in Northern Samar.
The Efren Martires Command (EMC) of the NPA in Eastern Visayas on April 21 said the NPA does not target civilians and is duly guided by its revolutionary principles, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the laws of war.
“Whenever the NPA does commit mistakes, it takes responsibility and ensures justice and indemnification for any victims and the accountability of the erring NPA members. Let us thus wait for the official report of the responsible NPA command in the province and be critical of the anti-NPA and fascist propaganda of the Duterte regime and its Armed Forces of the Philiipines,” said EMC spokesperson Ka Karlos Manuel.