AFP on red alert for midterm elections

A member of the MPD motorcycle unit checks the driver’s license of a rider at a checkpoint in Manila on Friday, May 10, as police districts beefed up security operations ahead of election day. | Philstar.com photo by Edd Gumban

AS the upcoming midterm elections draw near, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, May 10 raised the red alert status in order to ensure national security on Monday, May 13.

AFP chief General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. announced that they raised the red alert status early on Friday to express their support for the national and local elections.

“The AFP is on red alert status starting 8 am., May 10, in support to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the upcoming national and local Elections,” Madrigal said.

“This declaration is to ensure that our troops and all AFP personnel are ready to act on any emergency and thwart all possible threats that may arise. We are ready to respond appropriately for the honest, orderly and peaceful conduct of elections,” the AFP chief added.

AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo earlier said that the military will be deploying around 35,000 troops for the elections. The PNP, on one hand, planned on deploying around 143,000 police personnel.

The spokesperson said that they deployed military forces in “areas that need services and assistance from security forces to ensure a safe and secure election.” PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde assured that the police force will be hands on the upcoming polls.

“We are already on full alert status and as of this time, we have partial deployment already in the different hubs. Just in case po na kailanganin na magsubstitute (there’s a need to substitute) EBs or election boards,” Albayalde said.

Election hotspots
The polling body declared a total of 1,196 areas as election hotspots. These hotspots were divided into four categories: red for areas of grave concern, orange for areas of immediate concern, yellow for areas of concern and green for generally peaceful and orderly.

There are 85 areas under category red including all areas in Mindanao. There are 706 areas under category green while the rest falls under category yellow and orange.
“Ang bulk ng ating pwersa (The bulk of our forces) are those in the areas that are threatened by communist terrorists as well as local terrorist groups, especially in Mindanao and in the hinterland areas in Luzon and Visayas,” Madrigal said as reported by BusinessWorld.

Three areas have been placed under Comelec control —Daraga City, Cotabato City and Moises Padilla town. The areas have been placed under the poll body’s immediate and direct control and supervision due to its history of intense political rivalry that could result in violence.

Around 1.16 million government personnel and private sector representatives are expected to provide aid during next week’s polls. Among those are the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and Manila Electric Co.

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