Friday, May 10, 2013

Army beefs up security forces in Masbate 'hot spots'

903RD INFANTRY (Fight & Defend) BRIGADE, 9ID, PA
Brgy Poblacion, Castilla, Sorsogon

903 CMO                                                                                                08 May 2013

                           Spokesperson, 903rd Bde
              09175597178/ 09103433521

One Battalion of the Philippine Army reinforces the forces in Masbate for Election Duty. The 80th Infantry Battalion under LTC TED B DUMOSMOG (INF) GSC PA was airlifted by C-130 aircraft in three sorties from Clark Air Base and arrived in Masbate airport today May 9. It is composed of nearly 300 personnel. 80IB’s augmentation to the Task Unit Rodeo is in order to ensure a Secure and Fair Election (SAFE) this coming 2013 National and Local Election in the province. Said unit is being deployed in the six (6) municipalities of the 3rd District of Masbate in order for them to have a contiguous area and that their command and control will be optimized.

The Philippine Army in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate had intensified its preparations for the upcoming National and Local Elections for 2013.
Colonel Joselito E Kakilala, Commander of 903rd Brigade said that the military is in its final phase of its clearing operations in critical areas against Private Armed Groups (PAGs) and employing security measures to ensure the safe and free elections (SAFE) on May 13, 2013. With the relentlessly military operations together with the PNP, Kakilala revealed that it resulted in the recent encounter of 31st Infantry Battalion against the NPA rebels in Brgy Siuton, Magallanes, Sorsogon on May 01, 2013, Labor Day at about 5:20 pm. This led to the recovery of three M16 rifles, landmine, subversive documents, and campaign materials of a leftist Senatorial candidate and leftist Party Lists brought by the two NPA surrenderees who admitted that they were campaigning for those personality and parties. 

At the start of the election campaign period, the troops that composed the Task Unit RODEO, were already deployed in Masbate Islands, which is one of the 15 election hot spots in the country. The Task Unit is being led by Colonel Samuel F Felipe, 903rd Brigade’s Deputy Commander. The Brigade had already deployed troops as augmentation with the PNP, as security forces in the areas/routes where the PCOS machines are being transported as well as delivery, distribution, and withdrawal of Certificate of Canvass (COCs) and other election paraphernalia intended for the COMELEC. Government troops are also ready for possible requests of Local COMELEC for Operation BAKLAS and other election-related security functions as being deputized by the Commission on Elections.
A week before the polls, an additional platoon from Task Group BICOL was deployed for election duty in Milagros town of Masbate as reinforcement to the Brigade’s Task Unit RODEO, This day, May 8, BGEN FELIX J CASTRO JR AFP , the Task Group Commander visited the 903rd Brigade in Castilla, Sorsogon after visiting other Task Units all over the Region to finalize the election preparations in connection with the conduct of May 13, 2013 National and Local Elections to assess the general situation of the Provinces; Disposition and Location of Troops, to include the respective PJSCC organizational structure and Manning List; Election Security Operations (as embodied in COMELEC Resolution Nr.9669); Other Internal Peace and Security Operations (IPSO) and Election-Related Activities; and Issues and Concerns of the Task units.
For the past weeks, the Army in Sorsogon was also active in attending activities initiated by civic organizations, religious groups, media entities, other government agencies and non-government organizations with their advocacy on calling for a peaceful, safe, and honest election. Some of these activities to name a few, were fora parades, walk for HOPE, candle and lantern lighting, and even fun runs which were being initiated by different groups such as the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP-Sorsogon), Rotary Club of Metro Sorsogon, PPCRV, CBCP,  and DZGA FM radio. 
As a continuous coordination with the different stakeholders and various sectors, the 903rd Brigade’s TV and Radio programs simulcasting in Serbisyo TV and DZRS AM, initiated series of interviews and discussions for “Election Preparations” of concerned agencies/ organizations/ groups who will actively participate during the Elections. The April 27 episode, which is Part 1, was the interview to Atty Ryan Filgueras, representative of COMELEC-Sorsogon; PSSupt Ramon Sopeña Ranara, Provincial Director of PNP-Sorsogon; and Colonel Teody T Toribio, Commanding Officer of the 31IB. Part 2 was on May 4, attended by Mr. Tito Morcilla, Asst Schools Division Superintendent of DEPED; and Bro. Edgar Balasta of the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP-Sorsogon). Finally, on May 11 the guest are the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) who will underscores the youth’s role in the election; a member of the Board of Election Inspectors, and a speaker from the PPCRV. The series of interviews with the different concerned groups and agencies is the Brigade’s means in advocating our voters in exercising their right of suffrage, for honest, safe, and genuine elections.
Another major activity to be initiated by the Army will be the conduct of a Simultaneous Prayer Vigil and Synchronize Lighting of Candles on May 10, at around 7:00 in the evening, at the Capitol Grounds which will be attended and participated by the LGUs, multi-Religious Sectors, NGOs, Peoples Organizations (POs) and other sectors of our society, the media and different government agencies. The objective is to showcase to the public the focused and united stand of the AFP units to ensure a safe and fair election in 2013 and drumbeat AFP Information advocacy in support of Government effort on SAFE election. 

Written by: S7, 903rd Brigade, PA

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