BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
More than 3,000 Army soldiers and police personnel have been tasked to secure the May 9 elections in Negros Occidental.
Of the security forces allocated to maintain peace and order during the election on Monday, the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade is mobilizing 1,800 of its personnel composed of regular soldiers and paramilitary troopers, along with 1,426 police officers, disclosed Provincial Comelec supervisor Atty. Roberto Salazar Jr.
Government security forces will secure more than 1,000 polling precincts all over the province, including the highly urbanized Bacolod City.
Salazar said two police officers will be detailed in each of the 698 voting centers in Negros Occidental, as well as the 445 polling precincts in highly urbanized Bacolod City.
On the other hand, Army soldiers and Cafgu Active Auxilliaries have been tasked to secure the hinterlands, to address security threats from the New People’s Army, he added.
Salazar, who attended the Joint Provincial Coordinating Security Center meeting on May 3 at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr, in Bacolod City, also reported that the PNP also created a Quick Reaction Force to be used for dispatch to any incidents that may occur.
The Comelec has identified 19 towns and cities in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, as election watchlist areas for the May 9 elections.
Salazar also reported that the Bureau of Fire and Protection will deploy fire trucks in strategic areas of the province.
PLt. Abegael Donasco, NOCPPO deputy spokesperson, disclosed on Tuesday that the 18 component cities and towns tagged as election watch list areas have remained peaceful as of this time.
Army soldiers also served as escorts in the distribution of election paraphernalia in the different towns and cities of Negros Occidental.*