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500 soldiers deployed for poll duties | military

THE 10th Infantry Division has deployed about 500 soldiers to help secure the May 9 elections.

 Captain Mark Anthony Tito, Public Affairs Office head of the division, said the provisional election duty battalion of the division under Lt. Col Edward R. Estonia is primarily the unit assigned to take on the election duty. It is composed of four companies and a reservist company.

Photos courtesy of 10th Infantry Division

Members of the battalion, he told TIMES, will be sent primarily to areas that the commission on Elections identified as areas of concern. 

 “Also, ( troops that are deployed are for) area security (and) not necessary that all precincts will have soldiers but based on the area of responsibility,” he said.

The division covers the Davao Region; Second District of North Cotabato, Malungon, Alabel, Malapatan and Glan, Sarangani Province, Tampakan, South Cotabato, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, in Region 12; Bislig City, Hinatuan, Tagbina, Lingig and parts of Barobo, all of Surigao Del Sur; Bunawan, Rosario, Trento, Loreto, Sta Josefa, Veruela, 9 Brgys of San Francisco and two barangays  of La Paz in Agusan Del Sur in Region 13: and Damulog, Kibawe, Dangcagan, Kitaotao,  and eight barangays of San Fernando in Bukidnon.

Tito said commanders of the four companies will determine the size of the units that they will deploy to a certain area, especially if it identified as the one where presence of the New People’s Army is known.

In Davao region, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 has placed 16 municipalities in the Davao Region amid intense political rivalry and presence of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Of the total, eight were placed under the “yellow” category classified due to the intense political rivalry in previous elections. These areas Sta. Cruz, Matanao, Magsaysay, Malalag, Hagonoy, and Padada in Davao del Sur; New Corella in Davao del Norte; and Monkayo in Davao de Oro.

Photos courtesy of 10th Infantry Division

Meanwhile, these municipalities have been placed under “orange” category due to the presence of NPA: Mabini, Maco, Maragusan, Montevista, New Bataan, and Pantukan in Davao de Oro; Lupon, Davao Oriental; and Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

“So far based on the data, there is no election area of grave concern (in the Davao Region),” Tito explained.

Those who were deployed for election duties also underwent a two- day seminar facilitated by the Comelec and the police to ensure that they are aware of and understand their mandates while performing their duties.

The election battalion was organized primarily to ensure the uninterrupted and sustained internal security operations of the division’s units to finally defeat the communist rebels before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends on June 30.

Major Gen. Nolasco Mempin, division commander, reminded the deployed soldiers in his speech to remain focused on their mission of protecting the integrity of the elections.

“As we endeavor to promote a successful and a violence-free National and Local Elections in Region 11 and its adjacent areas, let us uphold our political neutrality in the performance of our respective duties consistent with the Omnibus Election Code,” Mempin said.

” Let us further uphold our commitment and loyalty to our constitution as we pursue a secure, accurate, free, and fair national and local elections in the area of responsibility (of the division),,” he added.



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