October 17, 2007

CAMP SK PENDATUN, PARANG, SHARIFF KABUNSUAN – The Police Regional Office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) assures ARMM constituents of a peaceful and honest barangay election.

PRO-ARMM yesterday revealed that there has been so far no serious election related incidents in the region since the onset of the election period on September 19.

PNP-ARMM Chief PSSupt Joel Goltiao said during the Joint PNP-AFP-COMELEC Meeting at the PNP-ARMM Headquarters that their preparations are ongoing for the SK and Barangay elections on October 29, 2007 in the region.

He said that as of press time the regional police force was able to apprehend three persons who have violated the election gun ban, each bearing firearms that were later confiscated. Two of the incidents were in Tawi-Tawi and one was in Lanao del Sur.

One hundred ninety nine (199) barangays in the region are identified as areas of immediate concern. Goltiao said that Lanao del Sur leads followed by Shariff Kabunsuan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Basilan respectively.

Meanwhile, 383 barangays are identified as areas of concern, 51 barangays as very difficult to access and 207 barangays as difficult to access. The regional PNP chief stressed that election in this barangays will push through as scheduled on the 29th even those that were affected by the recent conflict such as those in the provinces of Basilan and Sulu.

“Elements of both the PNP and AFP have been deployed in these areas to maintain peaceful and orderly election,” Goltiao said.

COMELEC-ARMM Acting Regional Director, Atty. Michael C. Abas, said the PNP and the AFP will have the same function this coming election.

Abas assumed as acting ARMM COMELEC head last October 15 replacing Atty. Rey Sumalipao.

Abas added that he even directed all his field personnel to encourage candidates to adopt peace covenants among them. He also welcomes the help of concerned groups to act as watchdogs during the elections. “Everyone must take part to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful elections,” he said.

Sulu Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Vidzfar A. Julie assured the voting populace in province that election on October 29 will be okay amidst news that teachers will not render services on election day. “We guarantee that there would be no failure of election in the province. Our teachers manifest their full support for this election.”

Meanwhile Col. Abad of the AFP said that their function for the scheduled election will rely on the directives of the COMELEC. “Kung ano ang sasabihin ng COMELEC, gagawin natin.” (bpi-armm)