By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – A total of 150 soldiers were dispatched to Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental over the weekend, following recent attacks on town officials.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Army 303rd Infantry Brigade, led the send-off ceremony of the troops at Poblacion Market in the town Saturday.
Also present during the ceremony were Lt. Col. Egberto Dacosco, commander of 62nd Infantry Battalion, Police Captain Junji Liba, town police chief, and town’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) assistant officer Rosana Lamec.
The troops were accompanied by three armored vehicles and 12 military trucks.
Last Thursday, reelectionist Councilor Jose Antonio Garcia and his uncle, Jose Marcelino Garcia, brother of Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, were killed in an ambush after coming from a campaign sortie in Barangay Inolingan.
On March 31, Councilor Jolomar Hilario, who was also seeking for reelection, was gunned down by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) at his residence in the said village.
With the deployment of troops, Arevalo said they are trying to show to everyone that the force should be with the government forces and not with the private armed groups or the NPA.
We will be able to contain the town with the number of the security forces, he added.
He believed that more troops is necessary in the town.
He said they will be working with the police to ensure peace and order in the town.
Recently, the Provincial Joint Security Control Center composed of the Comelec, Philippine Army, and Philippine National Police recommended to place the town under Comelec control due to the election-related violence.
However, they will have to wait for the approval of the Comelec en banc.