CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City –The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) recently inked a joint plan in yet another bid to ensure peaceful and orderly elections in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region.
The Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) led by its Commander, Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal; and PNP’s Regional Office 10 (PRO-10) and PRO-13 represented by P/Brig. Gen. Jerry Linsagan, Deputy Regional Director (DRD) for Administration, and P/Col. Jimili Macaraeg, DRD for Operations respectively, signed the “Joint AFP-PNP Implementation Plan (IMPLAN) for the National and Local Election 2019” at Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City last May 3.
The said plan provides for a joint security and deployment plan of all AFP and PNP forces in the two regions come May 13. Officials said the plan lays down all available measures to ensure a “Peaceful, Honest, Orderly, Free and Credible May 2019 Election” in all provinces and cities of Region 10 and 13.
“This activity is a continuation of our dutiful preparations for the forthcoming elections which we have already started several months back. But it will not end here. We will continue our preparations, and ensure that all available resources particularly our personnel are deployed and utilized accordingly to ensure successful elections in our respective areas”, Linsagan said. This was seconded by Macaraeg who said he is confident that the strong partnership and collaboration between the two uniformed services will spell out the difference come Election Day. “Our long experiences in working together in all aspects of peace and order, and security is crucial to this endeavor. Our constituents expect a lot from us hence we cannot afford to fail them”, Macaraeg said.
Gacal was equally optimistic the electoral process in the two regions will be both peaceful and orderly. “Last year, we were successful in minimizing all forms of election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) because of the seamless coordination between AFP and PNP units on the ground, and of course through the support of our stakeholders particularly the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). We were able to prevent the communist-terrorist CPP-NPA, Partisan Armed Groups (PAGs) and other lawless elements from conducting major atrocities during, and in the aftermath of the elections. This year, we will do our best to the same or even better”, Gacal said. “This is our commitment to the Filipino voters- to ensure that they would be able to freely exercise their right of suffrage”, he added.
Gacal clarified that all Army units throughout 4ID’s Area of Responsibility will remain in combat posture, and will have no let-up on its offensive operations against the CPP-NPA. “We will deny them any chance to conduct atrocities, threaten election officials and personnel or coerce voters.” He said many soldiers availed of the Local Absentee Voting (LAV) last April 29 and 30 to ensure readiness of units to perform election-related duties while at the same time continuing Community Support Programs (CSP), and other peace and development activities.
The Joint AFP-PNP IMPLAN in Region 10 and CARAGA was crafted based on the AFP-PNP Joint Operational Guidelines, Republic Act 7166 and COMELEC resolutions. Last April 15, a Joint Coordinating Conference between the COMELEC, DepEd, Army and PNP was conducted at Camp Alagar, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City in preparation for the May 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, this year’s joint conference was also attended by Army Brigade and Battalion Commanders whose units cover various parts of the two regions. Northern Mindanao-based units were led by 403rd Brigade Commander, Col. Edgardo de Leon; while Caraga based units were led by Col. Allan Hambala and Col. Maurito Licude, Commanders of the 401st and 402nd Brigades respectively. A CDO-based unit of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) was also in attendance.