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COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PNP-BARMM) called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, August 24, to consider postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in the region just for a few days due to intense political rivalries and a rising number of violent incidents.
Brigadier General Allan Nobleza, PNP-BARMM director, said the police, along with the Regional Joint-Security Control Center (RJSCC), discussed the proposal to defuse the tensions that could potentially lead to violence in the region.
Nobleza said a two-week delay of the elections would allow security forces to focus their resources in the BARMM.
“This is just our proposal, but if they stick to the election schedule, then we are still ready,” he said.
In a separate interview with Alerto Bangsamoro on DXMS-Radyo Bida in Cotabato City, Nobleza said the PNP has recorded 350 shooting incidents in the BARMM since January, with 21 of these attacks targeting government officials, primarily barangay officials.
Nobleza announced the PNP’s plan to deploy 13,000 personnel across the region. He said an additional 6,000 personnel are required to enhance security and ensure credible elections in the BARMM.
Based on their recent security assessment, Nobleza said 10 municipalities in the region are under close watch due to potential political violence resulting from monitored tensions.
In the Special Geographic Area of the BARMM in Cotabato province alone, 10 out of the 63 villages are classified as high-risk areas due to intense political rivalries.
The high-risk villages include the following:
Nobleza said more than 1,000 police officers would be deployed to beef up the security in these villages.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force Central and the 6th Infantry Division said their security measures are in place for the October elections.
Major General Alex Rillera, 6th ID commander, said, “Military personnel are on high alert, particularly at checkpoints, and they are continuously monitoring potential politically motivated violence, especially in areas of concern.” – Rappler.com