Armored personnel carriers deployed in Sulu days before polls
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed armored personnel vehicles (APCs) to beef up the security in Sulu days before the midterm elections.
Lt. Col. Gerald Monfort, Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu spokesman, confirmed that APCs arrived in Sulu within the week.
“Yes, but these are not tanks, civilians called it tanks but these are just armored vehicles,” he told the Daily Manila Shimbun in a phone interview on Saturday.
Although the vehicles arrived in the province days before the elections, Monfort said their deployment was part of the security program of the armed forces and not because of the upcoming polls.
“It’s not actually for election purposes… as part of enhancing our security posture here we need those assets. But there’s nothing significant that may cause alarm to the people. We are just enhancing our security forces here in Sulu,” he said.
“It’s part of the security program of the AFP, enhancing the security posture of the Joint Task Force Sulu,” he added.
Col. Gerry Besana, AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman, also noted that the military is planning to further enhance the government forces in Sulu after the elections.
“It’s part of the organization of 11th Infantry Division, it has organic cavalry team. Its arrival is timely for the election. Actually the troops in Sulu will even be strengthened after the election, more troops will be deployed there,” he said.
However in a viber message, Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP Public Affairs Chief, explained that the deployment of APCs is part of the commitment of the armed forces to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections.
The military also reportedly deployed APCs in Negros Occidental, which has a strong presence of communist New People's Army (NPA).
“It’s the AFP’s commitment to maintain peace and order to make sure elections will be held on Monday,” Detoyato said when asked about the military tanks reportedly patrolling the Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental. Robina Asido/DMS