Nearly 20,000 personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Department of Education (DepEd) were deployed Wednesday, May 4, to secure the upcoming May 9 national and local elections.
The send-off and turnover ceremony of the security and education personnel took place at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan thanked the members of the uniformed service and DepEd for their “selfless service to keep the security and safety of the elections.”
“My marching orders to all of you who are present today and those you represent are simple: Go back to basics. Uphold your basic duty, foremost of which is to serve the people,” Pangarungan said in his speech.
“Be loyal to your constitutional mandate as you safeguard the sanctity of the ballot. Protect our polling places and the Board of Election Inspectors. Ultimately, I urge all of you to defend the sovereign will of the people,” he continued.
Pangarungan said that the election “is the purest form of democracy” where the people directly express their voice through the ballot.
“Our duty is to respect the will of the people regardless of our personal feelings on the matter. Let us uphold our mandate, obey lawful orders, and perform our tasks objectively,” he stressed.
Pursuant to Comelec Resolutions No. 10755 and No. 10743, the AFP, PNP, and PCG shall provide security and ensure availability of all land, air, and water assets including communication systems and other equipment to achieve a peaceful, orderly, fair, and safe elections.
The send-off ceremony at Camp Crame was attended by 596 police officers, 400 military personnel, 100 coast guardians, and 100 participants from Deped.
Meanwhile, simultaneous send-off ceremonies for 18,672 more PNP, AFP, PCG, and DepEd personnel were held in all 17 regions nationwide.
Gen. Andres Centino, AFP Chief of Staff, revealed that he submitted a proposed resolution to Comelec which underscores the importance of issuing a promulgation that shall inform the candidates that giving monetary contributions to the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front of the Philippines as “permit to campaign and permit to win fees” is considered an election offense.
He said these shall be ground for disqualification as covered by the existing laws.
“As the Chief of Staff, AFP, I assure you that our troops have taken the necessary preparations to be ready to perform their mandated missions during their deployment in areas where the AFP peace and security efforts are needed,” Centino said.
Consequently, the Comelec has placed the province of Misamis Occidental and Pilar, Abra under its control in line with the security and safety concerns related to the upcoming elections.
“These areas have been riddled with election-related violence as we approach the May 9 elections. The COMELEC will not stand idly by while this is happening. The residents in areas under COMELEC Control should have no apprehension and fear in such a status as the declaration will ensure that there will be clean, honest, peaceful and orderly elections,” Pangarungan said.
Meanwhile, PCG Commandant, Admiral Artemio Abu committed all of the agency’s available personnel and floating and air assets for the elections.
“It is my fervent wish and prayer that our joint efforts will send a very strong message that we are uited and committed in ensuring a secured and peaceful elections for the good of our country and people,” Abu said.