Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao — The 6th Infantry Division sent off AFP and PNP personnel that would be deployed for the Bangsamoro Organic Law(BOL)plebiscite in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in a ceremony at its headquarters, here, January 18.
Said military and police personnel were deployed in the cities of Cotabato and Isabela, Lanao del Norte province and a number of municipalities in North Cotabato to ensure that the plebiscites on January 21 and February 6, 2019 are done in a free, orderly, credible, honest and peaceful manner.
In his welcome remarks, Maj Gen Cirilito E. Sobejana, Joint Task Force Central commander, said that the Armor capabilitties and Air power will form part of the security force to contain any significant development that would require their utilization. He gave emphasis on the hardwork, dedication, commitment and perseverance of Muslim people to establish a mechanism that would bring sustainable peace and development in Mindanao.
Major General Sobejana also reminded the security forces of the core purpose of protecting the people and securing the land. “We need to protect the people’s right to choose freely without any threat and intimidation,” he said.
The JTF Commander gave emphasis on three operational imperatives; to enforce the rule of law, give due respect to human rights, and strictly adhere to the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.
As the troops will be securing the ratification of BOL, Gen Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, stressed that the AFP assures the people of its readiness for the historic event. He mentioned that identified gaps have been addressed accordingly through the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) national level meeting last January 10 which has allowed the AFP and PNP to instill necessary measures and initiatives to ensure the safe, free and orderly plebiscite.
“We have deployed more than 10,400 troops from the armed forces and we have also come up with mechanisms that will discourage groups from disrupting the conduct of the plebiscite. The AFP-PNP joint letter directive on the BOL provides the guidelines for the conduct of joint internal security and counter-terrorism operations; campaign against loose and undocumented firearms; establishment of strategically placed Comelec-AFP-PNP checkpoints; joint task groups; and joint civil relations campaign plan “Kapanatagan,” General Madrigal further emphasized.
The Chief of Staff was happy to note of the new chapter of mutual understanding pursued, away from the bitter memories of the past. “It is now in our hands to make sure that we continue our pursuit for just and lasting peace and sustainable inclusive development,” he finally remarked.
PDGen Oscar D. Albayalde, Philippine National Police Chief assured the countrymen that the best and the finest PNP personnel were carefully selected and trained to perform their mandated task. “You have our full trust and confidence and as chief of the PNP, let me assure you as well of the PNP leadership, the best support and continuing guidance during the entire operations,” said Police Director General Albayalde.
On the otherhand, Commissioner Al A. Parreño of the Commission on Elections spoke of the 2018 Barangay and SK elections and described it as a highly successful election. “When I was asked why it was very successful? This was my response, it was because of the AFP and the PNP,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Pareno once again urged the AFP and the PNP for their support to ensure the make sure the two-day plebiscite will be successful.