Army deploys 5,000 soldiers for poll duties

The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has mapped out its preparations relative to the May 13, 2019 midterm elections.

Starting May 6, 2019, the 3ID has deployed more than 5,000 personnel to secure the national and local elections in Central and Western Visayas.

“It’s all systems go, as far as the Philippine Army is concerned,” said Brigadier General Alberto Desoyo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade.

Desoyo represented Major General Dinoh Dolina, 3ID commander, during the send-off ceremony of personnel and resources at the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6) at Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City.

Dolina, through Desoyo, told Army troops that it is their “utmost duty to ensure that the people will have a clean, honest, and peaceful election as the whole region is expecting that they will be able to carry out their poll duties.”  

The Army troops will serve as augmentation to the Philippine National Police that will take frontline election duties in areas that need extra security, particularly those listed in the election hotspots and Red areas.

On April 27, the 303rd Infantry (Brown Eagle) Brigade deployed 150 soldiers to Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental following the order of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to send additional troops following the April 25 ambush that killed former Sangguniang Bayan member Michael Garcia and his nephew Councilor Mark Garcia at Brgy. Inolingan.

Dolina also underscored the importance of everyone’s help in ensuring an orderly, credible and peaceful elections. 

“It is common knowledge that the obligation to keep democracy in this country is a shared responsibility. As the state has obligations to its citizens, in return all of the citizens are also obliged to protect democracy under our existing laws. Let us do our part in this exercise of democracy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Desoyo noted that there was no massive movement of personnel in areas identified as “difficult” and “very difficult” to access.

After all, these areas are also the same areas where there are existing Army troops.

“Usually, these areas are the ones that are insurgency-affected,” Desoyo said.

There are 3,554 voting centers in Western Visayas, most of which are in Iloilo province with 1,349 and Negros Occidental with 696; Antique has 521, Capiz with 464, Aklan with 328, Guimaras with 89, Iloilo City with 62, and Bacolod City with 45.

Based on assessment by Comelec and PNP, 2,959 voting centers are considered as easily accessible.

However, 422 are deemed “difficult” and 175 voting centers are classified as “very difficult.”

Of the 175 “very difficult” polling centers, 81 are in Antique.