SULTAN MASTURA, Maguindanao—Police and military personnel have been deployed in this town eight days before the national and local elections following a series of bomb attacks on seven public elementary schools to be used on election day.
Colonel Earl Badiao, commander of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, said a company size soldiers from the 37th Infantry Battalion backed by Provincial Public Safety Battalion have been deployed in Sultan Mastura’s 13 villages to ensure next Monday’s election would be peaceful and orderly.
Unidentified men fired rifle grenades, lobbed hand grenades and strafed school buildings in seven barangays of Sultan Mastura, a town not included in the Commission on Elections as hot spot areas.
“We are securing the villages. Our mandate is to ensure the areas are safe for voters to exercise their rights of suffrage,” Badiao told reporters.
At dawn on Wednesday, unidentified armed men fired rifle grenades toward six elementary schools in Sultan Mastura that the poll body will use as voting centers in next month’s national and local elections.
The seventh school subjected to grenade attack at about 10 p.m. was Tambo Elementary School in Barangay Tambo. The ceiling and concrete walls were destroyed.
Nobody was hurt in the attack, according to Senior Inspector Wendylyn Banico, chief of the Sultan Mastura municipal police.
Badiao said he has ordered the deployment of more troops as peacekeepers to ensure the election will push through.
Kurais Dali, Sultan Mastura election officer, said no declaration yet as to whether or not the town will be placed under Comelec control.
“Not all school buildings were bombed, there are still other schools that can be used on election day,” she said.
“We are calling for peace covenant signing,” she added.