Stricter security measures remained in effect in Lanao del Norte province in anticipation of potential adverse response in the aftermath of the defeat of the Yes votes in the recent plebiscite of the Bangsamoro Organic Law ((BOL).
Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde said police forces that successfully enforced a violent-free BOL elections, will, however, remain in their posts to respond to any possible incidents arising from adverse reactions from losing parties pushing for the ratification of BOL in Lanao del Norte.
“Remember No votes won because basically Lanao is a Christian-dominated province, that’s why we are looking of probable reactions, although as of this time we are not monitoring any,” Albayalde said.
The entire province of Lanao del Norte voted against the inclusion of its six municipalities--- Balo-I, Pantar, Tagoloan, Munai, Tangkal and Nunungan in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Asked if Lanao del Norte is still a concern, Albayalde said “Yes, this is based on the recommendation of the regional commander suggesting the presence of stay behind forces in the province.”
He, however, declined to give the exact number of policemen still posted in different areas in Lanao del Norte mandated to maintain peace and order after the defeat of the Yes votes.
“They were there just to maintain peace and order, just to ensure the peace and no one would take advantage, or trouble maker because of no victory,” Albayalde said.
In line with PNP role in the upcoming May 2019 elections, Albayalde on Tuesday ordered the temporary cancellation of all schooling and training of all policemen so they can render election duties.
“Schooling of all policemen will be cancelled. They will be made to render election duties,” he said adding that policemen on training will also be halted, preparatory for deployment for election duties.”
Albayalde expressed optimism that the PNP will be able to perform its mandated task to protect voters and polling precincts across the country during the coming elections.
“We are more than 192,000 or almost 200,000 with the augmentation coming from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We are confident that we will be able to secure the voting population and all the voting centers in our country,” he said.