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Blasts, shooting incidents mar election in Mindanao

Security authorities said the midterm election Monday, which ended at 6 p.m., had no major security glitch as 61-million Filipinos who trooped to 366,831 voting center nationwide cast their votes—except for a report on nine people hurt in a shooting incident in Sulu.

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines said the elections was generally peacefully particularly in critical areas where violence had been anticipated.

“The conduct of the national and local elections is generally peaceful compared to the one that we are expecting that there will be widespread violence but it did not happen,” AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Col. Noel Detoyato said.

Detoyato attributed the peaceful holding of elections to the extensive preparation of the PNP, AFP, and the Commission on Elections months before the political exercise.

“The AFP congratulates the Filipino people for the successful conduct of the National and Local Elections 2019 and their peaceful exercise of their right to choose our leaders who will continue to plot the future of our country,” said Detoyato.

“Very minimal breach of peace and order was monitored and reported from all over the country. There were last-minute attempts to disrupt the conduct of elections but these were immediately addressed by our security forces,” he said.

In related incidents:

•    Nine people were wounded in a shooting incident that marred Election Day at a precinct in Sulu province, according to Tadz Azakali of dzMM-Jolo in a report on Super Radyo dzBB, heard nationwide.

As a result of the shooting incident, the start of the voting at the Titipon Elementary School in Panglima Estino, Sulu, was delayed.

Lt. Col. Gerald Monfort, Joint Task Force Sulu spokesperson, said the nine victims were only slightly wounded.

•    In Manila, AFP Spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgardo Arevalo said despite three explosions that rocked three unpopulated areas in Cotabato City and Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines assured voters that security forces were on top of the situation and that they should go out and cast their ballots.

In an interview with reporters, Arevalo said the motives of the perpetrators appeared to be only scaring voters from exercising their political rights as all of the explosions took place in uninhabited areas and there were no reported casualties nor damage to any structures or property.

The military official was referring to the grenade explosion in an open space in Cotabato City around 8:45 p.m. Sunday with the perpetrator still unidentified; an improvised explosive device detonation in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao which transpired at 10 p.m. and the third explosion, also in Datu

Odin Sinsuat, at 7: 40 a.m. Monday.

“We are still getting information on the latest explosion in Datu Odin Sinsuat as this just took place but the message the perpetrators are sending to the voters is be scared and don’t go out and vote. But we are saying otherwise, your AFP and PNP are on top of the situation,” he said in Filipino.

Arevalo said his views were shared by Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division, those troops were immediately on the scene shortly after the explosions.

A suspected bomber was wounded after a grenade he tried to throw at security forces guarding a polling place bounced back hitting him instead at 5 p.m. in Marantao, Lanao del Sur.

Five civilians identified as Asiri Sadjaani, 65; Ibno Sahipa, 64; Barre Abih, 46; Omal Hasan, 7; and Nadzra Munib, 41 were wounded during a shooting incident outside a polling place in Panglima Estino, Sulu.

Supporters of two candidates figured in throwing of stones at the old Maganoy Elementary School in Das, Maguindanao, wounding the two sons of MILF commander Datu Item of 106 Base Command—Tato Ampatuan Lintang and Dong Ampatuan Lintang.

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said that aside from confusion, administrative delay and queuing during the opening hours of the elections, there were no major untoward incidents that disrupted the holding of elections.

 At least 234 persons involved in 100 incidents of alleged vote-buying were arrested by police operatives. With PNA

Topics: midterm election , Philippine National Police , Armed Forces of the Philippines , Noel Detoyato
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