CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar: The Philippine Army has started security preparations for the 2016 polls to ensure peaceful and orderly elections especially in areas influenced by communist rebels.
Major Gen. Jet Velarmino, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) based in this city, said the military has a high commitment to provide security to people that will come to polling centers to “vote without fear.”
Speculations have been spreading the New People’s Army (NPA) will again enforce their “permit to campaign fees” and “permit to win” that target candidates who want to penetrate remote areas.
Aside from the NPA, the military is also keeping an eye on private armed groups backing politicians.
According to Velarmino, the same security concerns raised in the previous years have existed, but the military feels it is better prepared to use its own resources now.
“Soldiers are prepared for every possible eventualities and they don’t lack the confidence to do their job,” he said.
Police will stand to watch around polling sites, while military will secure the remote areas of towns and cities.
Records showed Samar and Northern Samar provinces have been classified as election hotspot areas in the past polls.
This is largely from the existence of intense political rivalry between parties, history of election-related violence, and existence of partisan armed groups maintained by politicians.