LINAMON, Lanao del Norte -- For some places in Mindanao considered to be "hotspots", the presence of US forces can be felt during the advent of the first ever automated elections in the country.

US Embassy spokesperson Rebecca Thompson, however, insisted the US government will only serve as mere observers of the electoral process on May 10.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

US observers will be in the Philippines during the May 2010 elections, US Embassy spokesperson Rebecca Thompson told Sun.Star in a recent interview.

"The US government will be in the Philippines but it will only monitor the democratic election process. It will never intervene nor support any of the candidates," Thompson said in an interview with Sun.Star.

Thompson said the US troops in the country will be doing medical mission, infrastructure development projects, and other development beneficial to the community especially in the far flung areas.

The US undertakings will be made in close cooperation with the local government units and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Thompson said the US Embassy has just concluded a two-workshop for 32 working journalists from the Visayas and Mindanao.

Among the subject matters being tackled in the workshop is the implementation of the automated national elections which is yet to debut in the country.

The said seminar, Thompson said, provides clearer picture on the role of media in the election process as messengers of truth.

The resource persons came from the Social Weather Station, non-government organization, and Commission on Elections Central Visayas.

The campaign period at local level started last March 26.

In Lanao del Norte and Iligan City, roving propaganda converged at thickly populated areas like public markets among crowded places if only to attract more audiences.

It was a typical carnival-like political fanfare cum circus not sparing even the holy Palm Sunday as campaigning politicians went to as far as shaking hands and greeting the church goers in various places.

Meanwhile, the 27 Electric Cooperatives in Mindanao belonging to the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative also fielded its own candidate through I-Care Party-list, according to Engr. Resnol Torres, general manager of Lanao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Incorporated.

Laneco is based in Tubod, the capital town of Lanao del Norte, where seven of the electric firm's satellite offices are comfortably nesting along its national highway.