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AFP to deploy personnel to help secure May elections

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is planning to deploy personnel from various headquarters to assist the government in securing a safe and peaceful May 2022 election.

Colonel Jorry Baclor, the Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said military personnel performing non-combat missions may be tapped to carry out election duties prior, during, and after the National and Local Elections on May 9.

This is to allow the AFP to focus on its primary mission to defeat local armed threats, according to Baclor.

Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution Nr. 10470, the AFP is among the deputized agencies and instrumentalities of the government that are tasked to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections. 

Despite this, he said the military shall continue to conduct all internal security operations or its functions and responsibilities. 

Among the election duties of military personnel includes the provision of security to polling places, voting centers, canvassing centers, and election paraphernalia. They can also act as security personnel to authorized Comelec representatives. 

The AFP can also make available land, air, and water-craft assets, communication systems, and other equipment to support the logistical requirements of Comelec, especially in remote areas. 

Moreover, the military and partner law enforcement agencies are also looking into the existence of and preventing any armed group organized to commit acts of terrorism or threats against any individuals to influence their votes. 

He further said that soldiers who will be assigned on election duties may also assist in implementing election laws, particularly those governing prohibition against military, policemen, and provincial guards acting as bodyguards for candidates; and the prohibition on carrying firearms or deadly weapons in public places. 

Last February, the AFP along with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), has adopted a joint legal cooperation mechanism that would address lawless groups as part of the government efforts to ensure peaceful and orderly elections.

The Joint Letter Directive (JLD) No. 01-2022 aims to enhance coordination among concerned agencies in building-up cases, and the investigation and prosecution of leaders, members, and supporters of threat groups and their financers.

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