More cops, soldiers start arriving in BARMM ahead of polls

Rommel Rebollido

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More cops, soldiers start arriving in BARMM ahead of polls

AUGMENTATION FORCE. Army soldiers disembark from a military transport plane at Awang Airport in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao del Norte, on Friday, October 20, 2023.

6th ID, Philippine Army

The police document a dozen shooting incidents in the entire BARMM since the start of the campaign period

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Police officers and soldiers who will augment the security forces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have started arriving in the predominantly Muslim region ahead of the village and youth elections.

Brigadier General Alden Delvo, Davao region police director, led a send-off ceremony for the police from Southern Mindanao who were deployed to help ensure secured elections in the autonomous region.

They arrived in the BARMM on Monday, October 23.

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Since Friday, October 20, close to a thousand police officers arrived in the BARMM from various regions while a contingent of Army soldiers was flown in from Luzon.

Soldiers from the Army’s 7th Infantry Division arrived at the Awang Airport in Cotabato City on on Friday.

The deployment of more security forces was at the behest of local security officials, citing that about 70% of the 361 areas that fall under the red category or grave security concern are located in the BARMM.

Bangsamoro police director Brigadier General Allan Nobleza said a police contingent from the National Capital Region, the Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), was also expected to arrive.

Other police officers from Northern Mindanao and the Soccsksargen region will be deployed to the BARMM within the week, he said.

The arrival of more security personnel came in time as violence continued to occur in the BARMM ahead of the elections.

Nobleza said they have listed almost a dozen shooting incidents in the entire BARMM since October 19, the start of the campaign period. He said five of the gun attacks were election-related.

Nobleza said the five incidents happened in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, and Tawi-tawi.

The additional policemen and soldiers will be deployed to Maguindanao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, the Special Geographic Areas in Cotabato province, and Cotabato City.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has announced that there are 4,400 police officers who were trained to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) for the upcoming elections.

More than half of these police BEIs would be deployed in BARMM.

“As BEIs, they will not be carrying guns or any weapons,” Nobleza said.

Policemen outside the polling centers will, however, be armed.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Garcia on Sunday, October 22, said the police BEIs will substitute for teachers who will withdraw as electoral board members. –

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