KANANGA, LEYTE - At least 100 soldiers were dispatched by the 19th Infantry Battalion (19th IB) to boost the number of government forces who shall secure the upcoming May 2013 elections in Biliran.
The troops were immediately deployed after a send-off ceremony held at Philippine Ports Authority, Naval, Biliran around seven in the morning on Wednesday, May 2.
Police and soldiers along with one simba fighting vehicle and five KIA M450 light trucks paraded the streets of Naval, the capital town of Biliran. The activity kicked off the Commission and Elections (Comelec) and election deputies’ task to maintain a Secure and Fare Elections (SAFE) 2013.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel Alejandro Nacnac, commanding officer of 19th IB said the move to dispatch soldiers in the province was earlier agreed by the Comelec and election deputies as a pro-active measure against any unforeseen event.
“It may look awkward to the public, considering that the province of Biliran had been declared as insurgency-free on 2006. But beefing up 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,” Nacnac said.
As election deputies, the military and police will be conducting checkpoints especially in areas considered as election hot spots. Troops will also be detailed to secure polling places at least a day before election and will withdraw until all precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines are turned over to the Comelec.
Colonel Rafael Valencia, commander of the Ormoc City-based 802nd Infantry Brigade, said he has standing order to all soldiers who will be assigned to secure polling places and even those who are conducting checkpoints to be non-partisans. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)