By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The 103rd Infantry Brigade (Bde) of the Philippine Army here bared that it was able to secure the backing of its partner stakeholders for successful and peaceful upcoming national and local elections this year.
Brigade commanding officer BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II shared that they have convened with the Commission on Elections together with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Department of Education (DepEd), and religious leaders, among others to discuss election-related matters which turned out positively, gaining full support.
“They understand the importance and sacredness itong right to vote ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Lanao del Sur and sabi nga nila, tutulong kami na mapasiguro natin na ang mga tao ay makaboto with the absence of threat and violence. Iyon ang tulong nila sa atin dito sa elections,” he said.
[They understand the importance and sacredness of the right to vote of our fellowmen here in Lanao del Sur and according to them, they will help to assure that people will vote in the absence of threat and violence. That is their contribution to us in the elections.]
Cuerpo added that he had also privately talked with aspirants to help in securing peace in the elections.
He also said they will establish a provincial election monitoring action center (PEMAC) composed of the COMELEC, MNLF, MILF and local radio organizations to cover most, if not the whole, province.
With the all-out support committed by the partners, the commanding officer firmly assures the upholding of their mandate which is to ensure peace in the elections.
“This is the first time na magkakaroon tayo ng eleksyon na BARMM ang maghahandle [that we will have the elections that the BARMM will handle], under the BARMM government. This is a challenge to all of us, including ang [the] BARMM officials, to make sure that iyong elections natin sa [our elections in] Lanao del Sur will be peaceful … This will be part of the history of Lanao del Sur. Kung magkaroon ito ng magandang [If this will produce a good] result, [they] will become part of the history of making that important change dito sa [here in] Lanao del Sur because these elections mean the future of Lanao del Sur,” he said.
As of the moment, the brigade is monitoring areas with a history of election-related violence, and perceived and hotly contested places but no threats are yet received.
It has also started to carry out election responsibilities such as the transporting of election paraphernalia to selected municipalities.
In the coming days, the troop here will be accordingly augmented with additional forces coming from its division. (CRG/PIA-Lanao del Sur)