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MANILA, Philippines - Government troops intensified security operations in villages in Tampakan town, South Cotabato after sightings of armed groups in the area.
On Sunday, May 12, the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion sent additional troops to the area to contain the volatile situation before the start of the midterm elections, according to MindaNews.
The unstable security situation in Tampakan led to the postponement of the final sealing and testing of 8 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines intended for 4 barangays there, namely, Danlag, Buto, Tablu and Palo.
The PCOS machines and election materials will be delivered at 2 a.m. on Monday, May 13, said acting Tampakan election officer Evangeline Basan. She added that the vehicles that will deliver the machines and the security guards assigned to the area are already on standby.
The board of election inspectors and poll clerks for volatile areas will also receive protection.
Though previously considered an election hot spot due to election-related killings in the 2001 and 2004 elections, the PNP and Comelec have downgraded Tampakan's security classification because of less violence since the 2007 polls.
The area may revert to its earlier classification due to attacks from the New People's Army (NPA) and local groups. The rebel group is opposing the intended large-scale copper and gold mine backed by foreign company Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI). - Rappler.com
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