More than 20,000 troops deployed for BOL plebiscite
More than 20,000 troops were deployed in Mindanao to ensure a safe and peaceful conduct of Monday’s Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde on Friday.
“Our assumption is there is always a threat that’s why we have this kind of send-off ceremony,” the PNP director general said in a press conference at 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
“These are all part of our target hardening measures especially so our intensified intelligence monitoring,” he said, citing checkpoints and police visibility as measures.
In his speech, Albayalde assured the public they have the “best” and “finest” police and military personnel who have been carefully selected and trained to perform their mandated tasks well.
“With the volatile situation here in Mindanao, we expect you (troops) to be on your toes 24/7 to prevent any untoward incidents and assure our countrymen here that adequate measures are in place to ensure the success of the plebiscite,” he added.
The PNP chief hoped the plebiscite will be recognized as the “most peaceful” and “orderly” event conducted.
“This is a very important event which we hope will go down in history as among the most peaceful and orderly exercise ever conducted because you gave it your best effort to make it so,” he said.
“As we endeavor to give this mission our best shot, I take this opportunity to ask for the full support of the members of the community to make this entire exercise a success,” Albayalde said.
The Commission on Elections has set the plebiscite on Jan. 21 for the ratification of the BOL that expands the ARMM - currently composed of Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan (except Isabela City) - to include six towns of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays of Cotabato, and the chartered cities of Isabela and Cotabato subject to the approval of voters. Ella Dionisio/DMS