THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has downgraded its alert level in light of the relatively peaceful and orderly elections in most parts of the country last May 9.
But Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, acting AFP chief of staff, on Thursday said the heightened or red alert status still holds for so-called election hotspots.
“We downgraded the alert already to blue alert except in some other areas, and as far as the area command is concerned, I am giving that prerogative to my area commanders to determine as to what alert level they would be maintaining. But as far as GHQ (General Headquarters) is concerned, of course we still have some pocket forces, so to speak, that is enough based on our best estimate to attend to any eventualities that may occur from here on, up to the transition of authorities,” Miranda told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City (Metro Manila).
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., AFP spokesman, said the red alert status will remain over at least 52 special polling areas in southern Philippines particularly in Sulu and Lanao provinces and western Mindanao.
Miranda said while the AFP had accomplished its mission, its task is far from over until a transition of power is completed.
“The AFP will remain to be vigilant and, of course, non-partisan for this purpose and see to it that the transition of power will be carried out smoothly as of course everybody would be expecting,” he added.
In areas where there will be special elections scheduled by the Commission on Elections, Miranda said security forces will remain until the Comelec declares conclusion of the voting process.
He added that operations against threat groups like the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group were not affected by the deployment of forces for election duties.