The imposition of martial law in Mindanao and the aggressive posturing of military and police forces across the country has deterred all threat groups from committing terrorism and violent acts aimed to disrupt the recently concluded midterm elections.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, terrorist groups, particularly the New People’s Army, failed to sow violence during the elections due to the extensive and visible presence of police and military personnel in areas considered as hotspots.
“Meticulous planning and preparations seamlessly executed by government security forces and the Commission on Elections [Comelec] and their commanding presence in the polling areas deterred NPA atrocities,” Arevalo said.
“In Mindanao where there are a number if identified election areas of concern, martial law prevented breach of law and order especially by various private armed and threat groups,” Arevalo added.
He attributed the success of the elections to the people’s cooperation with the AFP and PNP in observing measures laid out for them and the citizens’ active involvement in reporting unusual developments or movements in their localities.
“Since the start, we have been expressing our confidence in peaceful, orderly, and credible elections owing not only to the tedious planning and execution but also to the round-the-clock observation in Election Monitoring Action Centers at the various levels throughout the country,” he said.
“Vigilance and anticipation enabled us to immediately act and counteract efforts, anticipated or unexpected, that may or tend to disrupt our planned peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections,” he added.
Despite the four incidents of bombing and shooting incidents in Mindanao that left five persons wounded, authorities said the elections was generally peaceful.
Arevalo said they will recommend the downgrading of the red alert status depending on the need basis, especially in the transport of election returns (in some cases) for canvassing.
“With the relatively peaceful and successful conduct of the elections and the counting almost over, the Chief of AFP Operations will recommend to the Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. the lowering or removal of the alert status within the day,” Arevalo said.
Philippine National Police Oscar Albayalde hailed the men and women for its courage despite the impending risk in the performance of duty ensuring the safety of Filipino electorate in the conduct of elections.
“Above all, I thank, congratulate and commend the men and women of the PNP for your display of courage in the face of all odds, the sacrifices you have made during the entire election period, and for your hard work in ensuring the peaceful and safe conduct of the elections,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde also extended his heartfelt gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for his unflinching support in providing logistical needs, through the Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP) which boosted the morale of the 100,000 police force that immensely improved its capability to ensure a fair, safe, and secured conduct of the elections.
“Together with the AFP and the COMELEC, we have done our best. And we hope that the success of this electoral exercise will further motivate and inspire us to work more closely together as we now welcome the duly elected leaders and usher in a brighter future for our nation,” he said.
“I lead the Philippine National Police in enjoining the rest of our countrymen to cast aside their political differences and once again unite in working together with greater optimism as we all face new challenges ahead in our nation’s continuing journey towards lasting peace and progress,” Albayalde added.